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1959 - Oxo

Oxo - .jpg

The winner

OXO never won again. Injury prevented an attempt to defend his crown in 1959-60 and he raced just two times that season (including finishing unplaced in the King George VI Chase at Kempton). He returned to Aintree in the autumn of 1960 for his comeback race, the Becher Chase and despite a dreadful mistake at the first fence he ran well and was just beaten into third place in a close finish. The rest of his 1960-61 season however was disappointing despite a couple of placed efforts at Lingfield and Leicester. He lined up in the 1961 National but was never a factor and he was pulled up before second Bechers. Two weeks later he suffered a similar fate in the Scottish Grand National at Bogside. He raced just one more time, at Huntingdon in October 1961 when he pulled up in a small race. It was clear the old spark had gone and he was retired to the hunting field.

Leading Fancies 

The 1958 hero, MR WHAT headed the market at 6-1 although he was without a win in four starts since his heroics the previous year. After a spin over hurdles in the autumn he had finished third and fourth in two of Irelands premier chases, the Thyestes and Leopardstown respectively. Next in the betting at 8-1 and making his Aintree debut was the Willie Stephenson trained OXO who was in good heart having won at Lingfield and Kempton this season. Another Aintree debutant SLIPPERY SERPENT was sent off at 9-1. Trained in Ireland he had won four consecutive races in the winter, three small races at Naas and then the Thyestes before he had fallen in the Leopardstown Chase. The evergreen WYNDBURGH started at 10-1, second in 1957 and a distant third in 1958 he had won a valuable chase at Warwick beating 1956 National hero ESB (who, this year was being aimed at the slightly easier option of the Topham Trophy) and he was expected to put up another solid performance. Another debutant DONE UP had won the Hurst Park National Trial although none of his seven rivals that day opposed him in the National. For many though, the class horse (or in this case mare) in the field was the 1957 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner KERSTIN. An attempt to repeat the feat this year ended in failure when, unsuited by the heavy going she unseated her rider. Without a win since her victory in an admittedly substandard Gold Cup  she had only gone down by a short head to Taxidermist in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup. Surprisingly friendless at 25-1 it was appeared that the heavy burden of twelve stone was putting potential supporters off as had been the case with the last Gold Cup winner to try the National, Mont Tremblant back in 1953.

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (sponsored by Irish Hospital Sweepstakes) (55 entries) 4 1/2 miles, £13,646 to the winner, £1,648 to the second, £824 to the third & £412 to the fourth 

 1   3-2230U   KERSTIN  9, 12-0  (C.Bewicke)  S.Hayhurst 

 2   21-0234   MR WHAT  9, 11-9  (T J Taaffe - IRE)  T.Taaffe 

 3     1-42121   DONE UP  9, 11-3  (H.Price)  F T Winter 

 5     /03F02  JOHN JACQUES  10, 11-0  (N.Crump)  J.Haine* 

 6     -004112  OXO  8, 10-12  (W.Stephenson)  M.Scudamore 

 7     -240312  WYNDBURGH  9, 10-12  (J.Oliver)  T.Brookshaw 

 8         31111F  SLIPPERY SERPENT  8, 10-11  (T W Dreaper - IRE)  P.Taaffe 

 9     4F0002  MAINSTOWN  9, 10-10  (Wight)  M.Batchelor 

10     34F304  CANNOBIE LEE  8, 10-10  (H.Nicholson)  D.Nicholson 

11      -131400  TIBERETTA  11, 10-9  (E.Courage)  A.Oughton 

12     130-002  MR GAY  12, 10-9  (P.Thrale)  D.Ancil 

13       F144F0  DONDROSA  7, 10-11*  (A F Taylor)  Mr C B Taylor 

14    -P4220P  GLORIOUS TWELFTH  10, 10-7  (R.Renton)  G.Slack 

15    P-424P0  GREEN DRILL  9, 10-6  (C.Bewicke)  G.Milburn 

17      040301   IRISH COFFEE  9, 10-5  (J A Hale - IRE)  C.Finnegan 

18     U-2F122   ETERNAL  8, 10-4  (F.Palmer)  P.Major 

19     3-03F30   VIGOR  11, 10-5*  (R.Turnell)  W.Rees 

20   2F/3-002   PINTAIL  10, 10-4  (J.Bissill)  B.Wilkinson 

21        2P1241   OSCAR WILDE  9, 10-4  (W.Wightman)  R E Jenkins 

22      13-0F44  SURPRISE PACKET  10, 10-5*  (R.Richards)  G.Scott 

23       -FF0P11  VALIANT SPARK  10, 10-3  (E.Champneys)  J.Lehane 

24        0-0111F  SOLTOWN  7, 10-3  (T J Taaffe - IRE)  W.Brennan* 

26      00F044   KILBALLYOWN  12, 10-2  (P.Norris - IRE)  E.McKenzie 

27     F0-4F02   RICHARDSTOWN  11, 10-1  (R.Neville - IRE)  F.Carroll 

28      44UF40  STOP LIST  10, 10-1  (J.Bowness)  T.Shone 

29        3-41F11  TURMOIL  9, 10-1  (A S Kilpatrick)  J.Hudson 

30        1143B2  NIC ATKINS  8, 10-1  (P.Murphy - IRE)  F.Shortt 

31         110P02  SUN DAWN III  10, 10-0  (T.Hudson)  J.Power 

32      4-4P201  BELSIZE II  10, 10-0  (W G Boomer - IRE)  Mr G.Rooney 

33      014034   EAGLE LODGE  10, 10-0  (M.Feakes)  J A Bullock 

34    0U00-03  SOUTHERNTOWN  13, 10-0  (P.Doherty)  P.Cowley 

35      00400F  ROYAL TOURNAMENT  9, 10-0  (W.Wightman)  R.Morrow 

36     -0P4204  THE CROFTER  11, 10-0  (W D Francis)  S.Mellor 

37       43B000  HENRY PURCELL  12, 10-0  (E C Smith)  A C Keen 

* H.East down to ride John Jacques in the racecard

* G W Robinson downto ride Soltown in the racecard    

Non Runners :  4 TOP TWENTY (H.Beasley), 16 ARMORIAL III (T.Foran), 25 PIPPYKIN (R.Akehurst)

S P : 6-1 Mr What, 8-1 OXO, 9-1 Slippery Serpent, 10-1 Wyndburgh, 100-7 Done Up, 20-1 Nic Atkins, Tiberetta & Turmoil, 22-1 Green Drill,  25-1 Kerstin & Soltown, 28-1 Belsize II, Mr Gay & Oscar Wilde, 33-1 Glorious Twelfth, Irish Coffee, John Jacques & Killballyown, 40-1 Mainstown & Valiant Spark, 45-1 Cannobie Lee & Eagle Lodge, 50-1 Eternal, 66-1 Dondrosa, Richardstown, Stop List & Vigor, 100-1 Henry Purcell, Pintail, Royal Tournament, Southerntown, Sundawn III, Surprise Packet & The Crofter.

Aintree debutants 

Belsize II, Dondrosa*, Done Up*, Eternal, Henry Purcell*, Kerstin*, Killballyown*, Mainstown*, Mr Gay*, Nic Atkins*, Oscar Wilde*, Oxo, Pintail*, Royal Tournament*, Slippery Serpent*, Soltown*, Sundawn III*, Vigor* 

Winners at Aintree 

John Jacques - Topham Trophy (1956) 

Mr What  - Grand National (1958) 

Tiberetta - Becher Chase (1957), Grand Sefton Chase (1958) 

Wyndburgh - Grand Sefton Chase (1957) 


1st   OXO - M.Scudamore 

2nd WYNDBURGH - T.Brookshaw 

3rd MR WHAT - T.Taaffe 

4th TIBERETTA - A.Oughton


Only four finished 


Time : 9 minutes 37.4/5 seconds.

Distances :  1 1/2-8-20

Owned by J E Bigg.

Trained by Willie Stephenson in Royston 

1960 - Merryman II

Merryman II .jpg

The winner

Merryman II proved he was an above average National winner (in my opinion after Jay Trump he was the best of the decade) the following season with victory in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on his seasonal debut. He then ran another superb race at Aintree when partnered by Derek Ancil he survived a kick at the start from rival Jimuru and was looking all over the winner on the second circuit before he failed to repel one final challenge from Nicolaus Silver. Still, first and second in successive Nationals isn`t bad. In 1962 on heavy going that was not to his liking he was never looking happy under Dave Dick (three Nationals - three different riders) and toiled home a distant thirteenth. He was retired to the hunting field where he died suddenly in 1966.

Leading Fancies 

Following the growing number of voices alleging that the race was "cruel" home secretary R.A.B Butler came to Aintree as a guest of Mrs Topham to inspect the fences for himself. He appeared relatively impressed. However, the meeting did not start well as far as horse welfare was concerned with two fatalities in the Topham Trophy (one of whom was the favourite Suirvale) and one in the Mildmay Chase the following day. There was a feeling however, that with a smaller than usual field of twenty six they would create less of a hazard. Certainly Aintree and the National was under the microscope as for the first time the BBC cameras had been allowed into Aintree to film the race, introducing the race to a whole new audience of once a year armchair racegoers. Favourite on the basis of his victory in the 1959 Foxhunters was MERRYMAN II although he was without a win all season and had fallen over the Mildmay fences in December. Next in the betting was Aintree perennial WYNDBURGH who had performed such heroics for Tim Brookshaw when finishing second for a second time in 1959, having lost both his irons. Ironically with Brookshaw injured it was Michael Scudamore, who had ridden the winner Oxo that day who took the ride. TEAM SPIRIT was the hope of Ireland with three victories to his credit this season including the Hurst Park Grand National Trial over four miles and the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown. The form horse in the field was Aintree debutant  DANDY SCOT a winner of all four completed starts including the Coventry Chase at Kempton. There was also support for Grand Sefton third CANNOBIE LEE and BADANLOCH, a winner of small races at Haydock and Wolverhampton before he had finished ahead of MERRYMAN II at Manchester.

GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (49 entries), £13,134 to the winner, £1,586 to the second, £793 to the third & £396 to the fourth

 2   -020000  MR WHAT  10, 12-4  (D.Morgan - Ireland) - A.Freeman

 4    0-22124   WYNDBURGH    10, 11-11 (J.Oliver) - M.Scudamore

 5        1-111f1    DANDY SCOT  10, 11-7  (H R Price) - F.Winter

 7      311003   HOLLY BANK  13, 10-12  (S.Brookshaw) - Mr P Brookshaw

 8     13-3f03    MERRYMAN II  9, 10-12  (N.Crump) - G.Scott

 9      123211    TEAM SPIRIT  8, 10-12  (D L Moore - Ireland) - G W Robinson

10    00404f    IRISH COFFEE  10, 10-11  (McCartan Jnr - Ireland) - Mr W St G Burke*

11      -0112u2   BADANLOCH  9, 10-9  (G R Owen) - S.Mellor

12    -4bp200  CLANYON  12, 10-8  (Johns-Powell) - R E Jenkins

13     323334   CANNOBIE LEE  9, 10-7  (H.Nicholson) - D.Nicholson

14      23f140    KNOXTOWN  10, 10-5  (J.Brogan - ireland) - Mr E P Harty

15      ff0pbp    SKIPPER JACK  8, 10-4  (B.Marshall) - D O'Donovan

16    -020314    PENDLE LADY  10, 10-4  (A.Watson) - M.Towers

17      440000  JONJO  10, 10-4*  (J.Osborne - Ireland) - P.Taaffe

18    -003420  GREEN DRILL  10, 10-3  (C.Bewicke) - G.Milburn

19       fpf-u3f    SABARIA  9, 10-3*  (R.Turnell) - M.Roberts

20    303032   UNCLE WHISKERS  8, 10-1  (McCartan Jnr - Ireland) - C.Finnegan

22    420041    CLEAR PROFIT  10, 10-1  (R.Newton) - B.Wilkinson

23       f01414   CLOVER BUD  10, 10-1  (G.Llewellin) - T.Taaffe

24     120401    ARLES  8, 10-1  (H K Jones) - A.Moule*

25           /p2    SKATEALONG  12, 10-0  (H T Jones) - R.Harrison*

26    100404    EAGLE LODGE  11, 10-1*  (M.Feakes) - W.Rees

28     f00004   BELSIZE II  11, 10-0  (W.Boomer - Ireland) - P.Shortt

29       f04ff0    LOTORAY  10, 10-6*  (J.Edmunds) - M.Batchelor

30   4-200u1    TEA FIEND  11, 10-0  (G R Owen) - P G Madden

31       132f32    ALIFORM  8, 10-0  (F.Cundell) - T W Biddlecombe

Non Runners :  1  KERSTIN (S.Hayhurst), 3 POLAR FLIGHT (D V Dick)

                          6 DONDROSA (Mr C B Taylor), 21 GOLDEN DROP (-)

                         27 POLISHED STEEL (J.Fitzgerald)


* C.Finnegan down to ride Irish Coffee & Mr W St G Burke to ride Uncle Whiskers in the racecard

* J.Power down to ride Arles in the racecard

* G.Slack down to ride Skatealong in the racecard 

SP :  13-2 MERRYMAN II, 8-1 Wynburgh, 9-1 Team Spirit, 10-1 Dandy Scot, 100-9 Cannobie Lee, 100-7 Badanloch, 18-1 mr What, 20-1 Clear Profit, Clover Bud, 33-1 Green Drill, Tea Fiend, 40-1 Pendle Lady, 45-1 Aliform, Arles, Eagle Lodge, Knoxtown, 50-1 Clanyon, Holly Bank, Jonjo, Uncle Whiskers, 66-1 Belsize II, Irish Coffee, Lotoray, Sabaria, Skatealong, Skipper Jack

Aintree debutants 

Aliform* , Arles, Clear Profit, Clover Bud, Dandy Scot*, Holly Bank*, Irish Coffee, Jonjo, Knoxtown*, Lotoray*, Sabaria, Skatealong*, Skipper Jack*, Team Spirit

Winners at Aintree

EAGLE LODGE- 1959 Molyneux Chase 

MERRYMAN II - 1959 Foxhunters 

MR WHAT- 1958 Grand National 

WYNBURGH - 1957 Grand Sefton


 1st  MERRYMAN II - Gerry Scott 

 2nd BADENLOCH - Stan Mellor 

 3rd CLEAR PROFIT - B.Wilkinson 

 4th TEA FIEND - P G Madden 

 5th SABARIA - M.Roberts 

 6th GREEN DRILL - G.Milburn 

 7th ARLES - Mr A Moule 

 8th SKATEALONG - R R Harrison


Time: 9 minutes, 26 1/5 seconds. Distances : Fifteen lengths & twelve lengths

Owned by Mrs Winifred Wallace. Trained by Neville Crump at Middleham 

1961 - Nicolaus Silver

Nicholas Silver.jpg

The winner

NICOLAUS SILVER showed that he was an above average National winner when he became the first to add the Grand Sefton Chase in the same year. That autumn triumph proved to be his swansong. As a top of the ground specialist he was unlucky not to have conditions to his liking in the next two Nationals where he finished unplaced in both 1962 and 1963 (when equipped with blinkers). He last ran over hurdles in the autumn of 1963.

Leading Fancies

Unveiled this year were the new style "sloped" fences. Whilst there had been some minor modifications over the years, most notably some tinkerings with the landing side at Bechers these in comparison were major improvements. There were just two fallers in the Topham (where nine of the thirteen runners had completed the course) and the changes were warmly received. Incidentally Bechers had accounted for all but two of the fallers in both the Topham and Foxhunters. 1961 is also famous for the participation of two horses from the Soviet Union. Three horses Epigraf, RELJEF and GRIFEL had been sent from behind the depths of the Iron Curtain to take part in the National. Unfortunately their brightest propsect, three times Velka Pardubicka winner Epigraf sustained a slight setback and was unable to run so it was left to the 1960 Velka Pardubicka winner GRIFEL and runner up RELJEF to fly the flag for the Soviets. It has to be said that compared to the British and Irish runners, they looked a little on the scrawny side and burdened with automatic top weight of twelve stone (neither had a prep race in the UK) their chances seemed very remote indeed. It was a strong lineup. Heading the market was the Irish trained JONJO, a faller at Valentines the year before he had won the valuable Leopardstown Chase on his last start.  He had also won over the National fences at the Autumn meeting when landing the Molyneux Chase by ten lengths. Next in the betting was last years hero MERRYMAN II, restricted to just two starts this year he had won the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on his seasonal debut before finishing unplaced in the Great Yorkshire Chase. Regular partner Gerry Scott was injured so Derek Ancil took the ride. Another Irish challenger HUNTER`S BREEZE was in fine form having won four chases in the winter including the Thyestes Chase whilst there was strong support for SIRACUSA who had won at Manchester and Wetherby, O`MALLEY POINT who had finished fourth in the King George VI Chase and finished ahead of MERRYMAN II in the Great Yorkshire and SCOTTISH FLIGHT II who had won a small race at Lingfield and finished fourth in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup.

 The Grand National Steeplechase (Sponsored by Schweppes),  (74 entries) £8,270 to the winner, 2nd : £2,208, 3rd : £1,104, 4th : £552

 1              2   RELJEF  7, 12-0  (USSR)  B.Ponomarenko 

 2              1   GRIFEL  8, 12-0  (USSR)  V.Prakhov 

 3   f031-10   MERRYMAN II  10, 11-12  (N.Crump)  D.Ancil 

 4  020034  MR WHAT  11, 11-9  (D J Morgan - IRE)  D V Dick 

 5 0-3p323  OXO  10, 11-8  (W.Stephenson)  M.Scudamore 

 6    1f3202  WYNDBURGH  11, 11-5  (J.Oliver)  T.Brookshaw 

 7  3-p3pp3  TAXIDERMIST  9, 11-4  (F T Walwyn)  Mr J Lawrence 

 8    144231   O`MALLEY POINT  10, 11-4  (W A Stephenson)  P A Farrell 

 9   321400   KILMORE  11, 11-0  (H Price)  F.Winter 

10    b1111f   HUNTER`S BREEZE  10, 10-13  (Bryce-Smith - IRE)  F.Carroll 

11    f00040   IMPOSANT  9, 10-13  (J O`Donoghue)  Mr R Couetil 

12  -010033  TEAM SPIRIT  9, 10-13  (D L Moore - IRE)  G W Robinson 

13    413412   FLOATER  8, 10-11  (T F Rimell)  E P Harty 

14   2-13221   BADENLOCH  10, 10-11  (G R Owen)  S.Mellor 

15  200000   FRESH WINDS  10, 10-10  (W.Whiston)  R.Edwards 

16   044440   BRIAN OGUE  10, 10-10  (F.Pullen)  J.Guest 

17   0p0240   CLOVER BUD  11, 10-10  (G.LLewellin)  D.Mould 

18   000000   DOUBLE CREST  9, 10-7  (T W Dreaper - IRE)  A.Irvine*

19    12-4231   BANTRY BAY  10, 10-7  (H.Dufosse)  Sir W Pigott-Brown 

20   -221301   JONJO  11, 10-7  (J W Osborne - IRE)  P.Taaffe 

21     -fpf022   IRISH COFFEE  11, 10-6  (F D Farmer - IRE)  J.Magee 

22   0-04122  SCOTTISH FLIGHT II  9, 10-6  (P.Cazalet)  W.Rees 

23   042144   WILY ORIENTAL  9, 10-6  (C.Nesfield)  P G Madden 

24  2-00002  OSCAR WILDE  11, 10-4  (W.Wightman)  R E Jenkins 

25      2f4011  JIMURU  10, 10-4  (Lord Leigh)  Mr J Leigh 

26  400041   CARRASCO  9, 10-3  (B.Marshall)  P.Pickford 

27   0p-101p   ERNEST  9, 10-1  (R.Renton)  H J.East 

29  2-23001   NICOLAUS SILVER  9, 10-1  (T F Rimell)  H R Beasley 

30    100f40   PENNY FEATHER  8, 10-1  (N.Hall)  J.Lehane 

31   -301201    SIRACUSA  8, 10-1  (R.Renton)  B.Wilkinson 

32    /u3f0f-    SABARIA  10, 10-2  (R.Turnell)  M.Roberts 

33   -00323   KINGSTEL  9, 10-0  (J.Dennissoun)  G.Slack 

34    4-u1144   VIVANT  8, 10-6  (W.Stephenson)  D.Nicholson* 

35   4pp2u3   TEA FIEND  12, 10-0  (G R Owen)  R R Harrison 

36  130-004   APRIL QUEEN  10, 10-2  (H.Payne)  A.Biddlecombe*

Non Runner : 28 Cannobie Lee (D.Nicholson) 

* Mr M Haly-Hutchinson down to ride Double Crest in the racecard

* R J Hamey down to ride Vivant in the racecard

* Capt P Upton down to ride April Queen in the racecard

S P : 7-1 Jonjo, 8-1 Merryman II, 100-7 Hunter`s Breeze, Siracusa, 100-6 O`Malley Point, Scottish Flight II, 20-1 Badanloch, Mr What, Oxo, Team Spirit, 28-1 NICOLAUS SILVER, 33-1 Ernest, Jimuru, Kilmore, Wynburgh, 40-1 Bantry Bay, Carrasco, Taxidermist, Tea Fiend, Wily Oriental, 45-1 Oscar Wilde, 50-1 Clover Bud, Double Crest, Floater, Irish Coffee, Kingstel, Vivant, 66-1 Fresh Winds, Penny Feather, 100-1April Queen, Brian Ogue, Grifel, Imposant, Reljef, Sabaria

Aintree debutants

Bantry Bay, Brian Ogue*, Carrasco*, Double Crest, Floater*, Grifel*, Hunter`s Breeze*, Imposant*, Kingstel*, Nicolaus Silver, O`Malley Point, Penny Feather*, Reljef*, Taxidermist, Wily Oriental*

Winners at Aintree 

APRIL QUEEN - 1960 Foxhunters 

FRESH WINDS - 1960 Topham 

ERNEST - 1960 Grand Sefton Chase

JONJO - 1960 Molyneux Chase 

MERRYMAN II - 1959 Foxhunters, 1960 Grand National  

MR WHAT - 1958 Grand National 

OXO - 1959 Grand National 

WYNBURGH - 1957 Grand Sefton Chase 


 1st   NICOLAUS SILVER - Bobby Beasley 

 2nd MERRYMAN II - Derek Ancil 

 3rd  O`MALLEY POINT - Paddy Farrell 

 4th  SCOTTISH FLIGHT II - Bill Rees 

 5th  KILMORE - Fred Winter  

 6th  WYNDBURGH - Tim Brookshaw 

 7th  JONJO - Pat Taaffe 

 8th  BADENLOCH - Stan Mellor 

 9th  TEAM SPIRIT - Willie Robinson 

10th  SIRACUSA - B.Wilkinson 

11th   MR WHAT - Dave Dick 

12th  ERNEST - H J East 

13th  SABARIA - M.Roberts 

14th  IRISH COFFEE - J.Magee


Time : 9 minutes, 22 3/5 seconds. Distances : Five lengths and a neck

Owned by Mr C.Vaughan. Trained by Fred Rimell in Kinnersley, Worcestershire

 Did You Know

The 1961 Grand National featured three past winners MR WHAT (1958), OXO (1958) and MERRYMAN II (1960) and two future winners KILMORE (1962) and TEAM SPIRIT (1964) .With five other runners with winning form over the National fences this was probably the best National field on record.

Nineteenth fence casualty FRESH WINDS was the last faller in the race. This is a record. In 1989 Smart Tar unseated Carl Llewellyn at the twentieth fence which is the only other time that the last faller in the National has happened before the field has reached Bechers second time. (Apart from 2001 but that was a freak year and doesn't count)

The 1961 Grand National was run on firm ground - they were tougher in those days - if that happened today we would have a race with five runners

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