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1968 - Red Alligator

Red Alligator 4 .jpg

 The Winner

Red Alligator finished unplaced in the Scottish National on his next start. Lightly campaigned the following year he narrowly failed to win the Haydock Park Grand National Trial before starting favourite for the National. He never got into the race and was behind when he unseated at the nineteenth. He did win three times during 1969-70 but again at Aintree failed to shine and he was struggling in last place when he unseated at the eleventh fence. He did not race again but his name lives on in Bishop Auckland as a pub was named after him and it is still there.

Leading Fancies 

Somehow Aintree survived. The County and City Councils now struggled with the thorny question of what to do with Aintree and Mrs Topham just about kept the racecourse going. With minimum investment, the racecourse looked tired and jaded, deserted and unloved for three hundred and sixty two days of the year (sixty four if you included the first two days of the Spring meeting). There was however another bumper entry for this, the fourth "Last Grand National" and there was another large turn out of forty five including seven runners from Ireland. Heading the market were three horses who could all claim to have been desperately unlucky twelve months earlier, DIFFERENT CLASS, RUTHERFORDS and RED ALLIGATOR as all three had been prominent when the carnage at the twenty third fence began. Owned by Hollywood star Gregory Peck, DIFFERENT CLASS had started the season with two disappointing efforts but had then won a competitive amateur riders race at Sandown followed by a bloodless win in the two runner Coventry Chase where he beat National rival SOME SLIPPER. RUTHERFORDS was without a win all season but had run credibly in the Great Yorkshire Chase, leading when brought down at the twenty third in 1967 he had been able to continue finishing down the field whilst RED ALLIGATOR had run on to finish third. Convinced he would have won that day, young Brian Fletcher, at twenty three one of the youngest riders in the race was hoping for better luck this year. Other fancied riders included a glut of Aintree newcomers all with winning form in their recent races, MOIDORES TOKEN was unbeaten in three starts this season, FRENCH KILT had won his last three starts as had leading Irish fancy (in what was a pretty weak challenge from the emerald isle this year), Thyestes Chase winner GREAT LARK. The lightly raced MASTER OF ART and REGAL JOHN, who had won the Whitbread Trial at Ascot, considered to be the best form in the race also came in for much support. There was considerable media interest in the antics of the "Galloping Grandfather",Tim Durant, now in his sixty eighth year and having his third consecutive ride in the race. This year his partner was the Irish trained HIGHLANDIE, who had been off the course for seven months before his prep race when he had finished a useful second to another Irish entrant VALOUIS in a small race at Navan in the beginning of March. And what of FOINAVON ? In four races this term, he had only managed to beat one horse. Running in different colours and sporting bright orange blinkers it was perhaps only his status as a previous National winner that prevented him from starting amongst the 100-1 outsiders. 66-1 seemed a little optimistic. Lightning couldn`t strike twice.....could it ?

THE GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (102 entries) £16,048 to the winner, 2nd : £4,938, 3rd : £2,469, 4th : £1,234

 1   -11334      WHAT A MYTH  11, 12-0  (H R Price)  P.Kellaway 

 2   -0p1411   DIFFERENT CLASS  8, 11-5  (P.Cazalet)  D.Mould 

 3       -0f0    HIGHLAND WEDDING  11, 11-0  (G.Balding)  O.McNally 

 4   121303    RONDETTO  12, 10-12  (R.Turnell)  J.King 

 5   100114    BASSNET  9, 10-12  (A.Kilpatrick)  D.Nicholson 

 6 -210022   SAN ANGELO  8, 10-10  (E.Courage)  W.Rees 

 7   10p221    FORT ORD  8, 10-9  (R.Wilson)  T.Norman 

 8  -220212   VULTRIX  10, 10-8  (F.Cundell)  T W Biddlecombe 

 9  043-342   PHEMIUS  10, 10-8  (N.Crump)  G.Scott 

10  330004  QUITTE OU DOUBLE L  8, 10-8  (J O`Donoghue)

Mr J Ciechanowski 

11   1000-01   REGAL JOHN  10, 10-8  (H R Price)  J.Gifford 

12   4f-0143   FORECASTLE  10, 10-8*  (N.Crump)  Mr W McLernon 

13     u11-111    MOIDORES TOKEN  11, 10-8*  (J.Oliver)  B.Brogan 

14    0-2321   RUTHERFORDS  8, 10-6  (N.Crump)  P.Buckley 

15   00-0111   GREAT LARK  9, 10-6  (W T O`Grady - IRE)  T.Carberry 

16  03u402   MASTER MASCUS  9, 10-6*  (D.Thom)  Mr J Lawrence 

17   4p0103   THE FOSSA  11, 10-4  (T F Rimell)  R.Edwards 

18  022-001  REYNARDS HEIR  8, 10-4  (T L Crawford - IRE)  T.Kinane 

19   1420-31   MASTER OF ART  8, 10-2  (H R Price)  Mr B Hanbury 

20  01-404p   FOINAVON  10, 10-5*  (J H Kempton)  P.Harvey 

21     b102f2   GO-PONTINENTAL  8, 10-0  (J E Sutcliffe)  M C Gifford 

22   2f-1340   RED ALLIGATOR  9, 10-0  (D.Smith)  B.Fletcher 

23     f101p4   RONALDS BOY  11, 10-0  (C B Harty - IRE)  J Harty 

25   213020   ROSS FOUR  7, 10-0  (A.Kilpatrick)  P.Jones

26  003140   CHAMPION PRINCE  9, 10-12*  (G.Harwood)  Mr A Wates 

27   1f-1444    FORT KNIGHT  9, 10-0  (P.Ransom)  R.Reid 

28   ff1-00f    MIXED FRENCH  9, 10-0  (R.Hobson)  G.Holmes 

29   23u331   CHU-TEH  9, 10-0  (K.Cundell)  Mr N Gaselee 

30  21004u   KIRTLE-LAD  9, 10-0  (W A Stephenson)  J.Enright 

31       4f4111   FRENCH KILT  8, 10-0  (F.Cundell)  S.Mellor 

33   201240   MANIFEST  10, 10-0  (F T Winter)  R.PItman 

34      23-01   POLARIS MISSILE  9, 10-0  (M J Thorne)  Mr N Thorne 

35  21-0042   HIGHLANDIE  10, 10-12*  (T.Bamber - IRE)  Mr T Durant 

36  0-04420  GAME PURSTON  10, 10-0  (J.Yeomans)  D.Cartwright 

37   200203   PRINCEFUL  10, 10-4*  (T F Rimell)  J.Leech 

38   0-rp02   QUINTIN BAY  12, 10-0  (A.Brabazon - IRE)  G W Robinson*

39    103322   BEECHAM  9, 10-0  (D.Barons)  Mr B R Davies 

40   p3002f   SOME SLIPPER  11, 10-0  (B.Trafford)  R.Atkins 

41  0300-p0   CHAMORETTA  8, 10-1*  (E.Courage)  D.Elsworth 

42  f33041   VALOUIS  9, 10-1*  (J J Prendergast - IRE) Mr EPrendergast 

43  2210-32   VALBUS  10, 10-0  (T.Shepherd)  R.Langley 

44      3ff1f-0   DUN WIDDY  12, 10-2*  (R A Lockhart-Smith)  Mr A Moore 

45  p-11p00   WILLING SLAVE  8, 10-2*  (M.James)  M B James 

46 00200-0   PORTATION  10, 10-0  (D.Ellison)  G.Cramp 

47  300-040   STEEL BRIDGE  10, 10-0  (D.Auld - IRE)  E P Harty 

* J.Cullen down in racecard to ride Quintin Bay

S.P : 17-2 Different Class, 100-9 Rutherfords, 100-7 French Kilt, Master of Art, RED ALLIGATOR & Regal John, 100-6 Great Lark & Moidores Token, 18-1 Bassnet & Highland Wedding, 25-1 Go Pontinental & San Angelo, 28-1 Reynards Heir, The Fossa, Vultrix & What A Myth, 33-1 Chu-Teh & Rondetto, 35-1 Fort Ord, 40-1 Fort Knight & Valouis, 50-1 Forecastle, Kirtle-Lad & Phemius, 66-1 Champion Prince, Foinavon, Manifest, Master Mascus, Polaris Missile, Princeful, Quintin Bay, Quitte ou Double L & Some Slippper, 100-1 Beecham, Chamoretta, Dun Widdy, Game Purston, Highlandie, Mixed French, Portation, Quinton Bay, Ronalds Boy Ross Four, Steel Bridge & Vulbus

Aintree Debutants

Beecham*, Chamoretta*, Champion Prince*, Chu-Teh*, Fort Knight*, French Kilt*, Great Lark*, Manifest*, Master Mascus*, Master of Art*, MIxed French*, Quitte ou Double L*, Regal John*, Reynard`s Heir*, Ross Sea*, San Angelo*, Valbus*, Willing Slave* 

Winners at Aintree

 FOINAVON - 1967 Grand National

 THE FOSSA - 1965 Grand Sefton Chase 

 VALOUIS - 1965 Molyneux Chase



1st   RED ALLIGATOR - Brian Fletcher 

2nd MOIDORE`S TOKEN - Barry Brogan 

3rd  DIFFERENT CLASS - David Mould 

4th  RUTHERFORDS - Pat Buckley  

5th  THE FOSSA - Roy Edwards 

6th  VALBUS - Robin Langley 


8th  REYNARDS HEIR - T.KInane 

9th  PRINCEFUL - J.Leech 

10th STEEL BRIDGE - Eddie Harty 

11th  MANIFEST - Richard Pitman 

12th SAN ANGELO - Bill Rees 

13th SOME SLIPPER - Ron Atkins 

14th  FRENCH KILT - Stan Mellor 

15th  HIGHLANDIE - Mr Tim Durant (remounted) 

16th  DUN WIDDY - Mr A P Moore 

17th  QUINTIN BAY - Willie Robinson


Time : 9 minutes, 28 4/5 seconds. Distances : 20 lengths and a neck


Owned by John Manners.

Trained by Denys Smith at Bishop Auckland, County Durham 

1969 - Highland Wedding


 The winner

HIGHLAND WEDDING next ran in the inaugural running of the Midlands National at Uttoxeter which at the time was run in May. Throwing his chances away with a mistake at the twenty first fence he was eventually pulled up. Falling on his next start at Ascot in December he was retired to his owners in Canada.

Leading Fancies 

As the wrangling over Aintrees future continued the public, perhaps were growing tired of the off course arguments and there was a considerably smaller field this year of thirty, a sign perhaps that patience was wearing a little thin as we approached the fifth "Last Grand National". Favourite was last years winner RED ALLIGATOR, a position he held clearly on the basis of his very impressive win twelve months ago as he had shown little in three starts this season, HIGHLAND WEDDING on the other hand was on a four timer. He jumped (he had finished the National in 1966 and 1968) and we knew he stayed as he had just won his third Eider Chase at Newcaste. Regular rider Owen McNally was sidelined so popular Irishman Eddie Harty took the ride. He was enjoying a good meeting having steered HIGHLAND WEDDINGS stable companion Dozo to victory in the Topham Trophy. Champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe was on board FEARLESS FRED, the winner of the WD & HO Wills Trial Chase at Haydock (the forerunner to the Red Square Vodka Chase). BASSNET was also popular in the market despite having failed to get past the first circuit in two previous attempts at the National. He had won the valuable Coventry Chase at Kempton on his last start before Aintree. Whilst British Movietone and Pathe had been broadcasting in colour since 1962, 1969 marked the first year that the BBC beemed colour pictures on television adding a new dimension to the great race.

THE GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (97 entries) £17,849 to the winner, £5,417 to the second, £2,621 to the third & £1,310 to the fourth

 2   112103      ARCTURUS  8, 11-4  (N.Crump)  P.Buckley 

 3    113f12      FEARLESS FRED  7, 11-3  (T F Rimell)  T W Biddlecombe 

 4 010-032     RED ALLIGATOR  10, 10-13  (D.Smith)  B.Fletcher 

 5  30p441     BASSNET  10, 10-12  (H R Price)  J.Gifford 

 6 00-330p    KELLSBORO  WOOD  9, 10-10  (D.Ancil)  A.Turnell 

 7 0-44023     KILBURN  11, 10-9  (Ireland)  T.Carberry 

 8    4111-40     LIMETRA  11, 10-9  (H.Lane)  P.Broderick 

 9     11332f     HOVE  8, 10-9  (F.Carr)  D.Nicholson 

 10  2-12030   TEROSSIAN  9, 11-3*  (H R Price)  Mr P Sloan 

 11    p14f02    MOIDORES TOKEN  12, 10-9*  (K.Oliver)  B.Brogan 

 12  010020    RONDETTO  13, 10-6  (R.Turnell)  J.King 

 13  143300    TUDOR FORT  9, 10-4  (G.Fairburn)  J.Haldane 

 14    403111    HIGHLAND WEDDING  12, 10-4  (G B Balding)  E.Harty 

 15   13210p    PECCARD  8, 10-4*  (H R Price)  Mr G Sloan 

 16    331211    THE BEECHES  9, 10-1  (R.Turnell)  W.Rees 

 17  033303   THE INVENTOR  8, 10-0  (E.Cousins)  T.Hyde *

 18   122241    FORT SUN  8, 10-4*  (Ireland)  J.Crowley 

 19       /up3    CASTLE FALLS  12, 10-4*  (W.Hall)  S.Hayhurst 

 20  413322   THE FOSSA  12, 10-9*  (F T Walwyn)  Capt A Parker-Bowles 

 21   10-212f    VILLAY  11,10-13*  (L.Scott)  Mr D Scott 

 23   211303   MISS HUNTER  8, 10-0  (Ireland)  P.McLoughlin *

 25         1-1f   TAM KISS  10, 10-13*  (H.Thomson-Jones)  Mr J Hindley 

 26   01041f    ROSINVER BAY   9, 10-5* (Ireland)  P.Taaffe 

 27 034-032  JUAN  13, 10-9*  (P.Wills)  Mr P Wills 

 28 00p022   LIMEBURNER  8, 10-0  (R.Turnell)  J.Buckingham 

 29   411-041   FURORE II  8, 10-0  (A.Kilpatrick)  M C Gifford 

 30  0330p1   FLOSUEBARB  9, 10-0  (J.Hooton)  J.Guest 

 31      01f013   GAME PURSTON  11, 10-0  (M.McCourt)  S.Mellor *

 32    001fp0   BALLINABOINTRA  10, 10-1*  (R.Armytage)  P.Kellaway 

 33    032101   STEEL BRIDGE  11, 10-0  (Lockhart-Smith)  R.Pitman

* B R Davies in racecard to ride The Inventor

* F.Shortt in racecacard to ride Miss Hunter

* D.Atkins in racecard to ride Game Purston 

 Non Runner : 22. FERRY BOAT (P.McLaughlin)

S P : 13-2 Red Alligator, 15-2 Fearless Fred, 100-9 HIGHLAND WEDDING, 100-8 Bassnet, 100-6 Arcturus, Hove, Moidores Token, The Beeches, 20-1 Furore II, 22-1 Kilburn, 25-1 Rondetto, 28-1 Fort Sun, 33-1 Game Purston, The Fossa, The Inventor, 50-1 LImetra, Miss Hunter, Peccard, Rosinver Bay, Steel Bridge, Tam Kiss, Terrosian, Tudor Fort, 66-1 Castle Falls, Kellsboro Wood, Limeburner, 100-1 Ballinabointra, Flosuebarb, Juan, Villay. 

Aintree Debutants 

Arcturus*, Fearless Fred*, Flosuebarb, Fort Sun*, Furore II*, Hove*, Limeburner, Miss Hunter, Peccard*, Rosinver Bay*, Terossian*, The Inventor, Tudor Fort*, Villay

Winners at Aintree 

JUAN - 1968 Foxhunters 

RED ALLIGATOR - 1968 Grand National 

THE FOSSA - 1965 Grand Sefton Chase 



2nd STEEL BRIDGE - R.Pitman 

3rd  RONDETTO - Jeff King 

4th  THE BEECHES - Bill Rees

5th  BASSNET - Josh Gifford 

6th  ARCTURUS - Pat Buckley

7th   FORT SUN - J.Crowley 

8th   KELLSBORO WOOD - A.Turnell 

9th   FURORE II - Macer Gifford 

10th  MISS HUNTER - F.Shortt

11th   THE FOSSA - Capt A. Parker-Bowles 

12th  LIMEBURNER - J.Buckingham 

13th  CASTLE FALLS -  S.Hayhurst 

14th  LIMETRA - Paddy Broderick


Time : 9 minutes, 30 4/5 seconds. Distances : 12 lengths and 1 length


Owned by Thomas McCoy Junior. Trained by Toby Balding at Weyhill, Hampshire

1970 - Gay Trip

Gay Trip.jpg

The winner

Gay Trip famously joined the likes of Poethlyn, Russian Hero and Early Mist by falling at the first fence the year following his National victory. He continued to be campaigned in the highest class and won a second Mackeson Gold Cup in 1971. He returned to Aintree in 1972 and ran a superb race to finish second to Well to Do although there were many at Aintree that day including trainer Fred Rimell who believed that had regular rider Terry Biddlecombe not steered such a wide course in the closing stages he would have won. Later that summer he raced twice at Auteuil in Paris although he pulled up in the Grand Steeplechase de Paris. He made one final return to Aintree in the one-off October meeting in 1972 where he was soundly beaten by the Queen Mothers Inch Arran in the BP Chase. He never raced again. I rate Gay Trip as one of the best National winners of the post war era and his trainer paid him the greatest compliment when he said he was the best of his four National winners.  

Leading Fancies

Having seen the number of runners reach the dizzying heights of forty seven during the previous decade it was somewhat surprising to see just twenty eight line up for the first National of the decade. However, if the field lacked quantity it was more than made up by quality with three horses DOZO, FRENCH EXCUSE and TWO SPRINGS vying for favouritsm. DOZO was the only one of the three with experience over the big Aintree fences having triumphed in the previous years Topham Trophy and was representing last years winning combination of trainer Toby Balding and jockey Eddie Harty. He had been trained all season with the race in mind. FRENCH EXCUSE had won the Welsh National in a dour slog and had three other wins to his credit this season including victory over Two Springs in the Haydock Park Grand National Trial. All three victories had come on ground much softer than he would experience in the National. TWO SPRINGS was sent off favourite although he had managed only one win all season at Windsor and had been beaten by several of his market rivals. The class horse of the race was French Excuses` stable companion GAY TRIP. A noted two and half mile specialist he had won the Mackeson Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November and had only narrowly missed a big race double when finishing second in the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup at the same course a month later. He had raced in the highest company thereafter finishing fourth in the King George VI Chase and sixth in the Gold Cup on his latest start. With regular jockey Terry Biddlecombe sidelined through injury he was partnered by forty year old Pat Taaffe, the oldest professional rider in the race who had won the race fifteen years earlier on Quare Times in 1955. Of the remainder, the 1968 hero RED ALLIGATOR was in fine heart having won three times at Haydock, Kelso and Newcastle and the Irish mare PERSIAN HELEN was having her nineteenth race of the season. 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (77 entries), 4 1/2  miles £14,804 10s to the winner, £4,486 to the second, £2,193 to the third & £1,046 10s to the fourth 

 2    124000  GAY TRIP  8, 11-5  (T F Rimell)  P.Taaffe 

 3     341001   BOWGEENO  10, 10-13  (R.Turnell)  J.Haine 

 4     212140   RED ALLIGATOR  11, 10-12  (D.Smith)  B.Fletcher 

 5     301031   SPECIFY  8, 10-7  (D E Weeden)  J.Cook 

 6    231024   TWO SPRINGS  8, 10-7  (G R Owen)  R.Edwards 

 7  PP-2420   BATTLEDORE  9, 10-5  (W A Stephenson)  T.S Murphy 

 8    201-100   RONDETTO  14, 10-5  (R.Turnell)  J.King 

 9   /0-00P4   FORT ORD  10, 10-5  (R.Wilson)  A.Turnell 

10     110202   PERMIT  7, 10-3  (N.Crump)  P.Buckley 

11       431311    FRENCH EXCUSE  8, 10-2  (T F Rimell)  K B White 

13     1F020F   THE OTTER  9, 10-1  (R H Dening)  T M Jones

15   4U0030   ALL GLORY  9, 10-0  (J A C Edwards)  A L T Moore 

16     1223F0   ASSAD  10, 10-1*  (G.Harwood)  J.Gifford 

17     3P1U0P   THE BEECHES  10, 10-0  (R C Armytage)  S.Mellor 

19    244F02   DOZO  9, 10-4*  (G B Balding)  E.Harty 

20    144402   THE FOSSA  13, 10-0  (F T Walwyn)  G W Robinson 

21   PB0-2PP  GAME PURSTON  12, 11-5*  (G B Balding)  Mr M C Lloyd 

22    102200  GINGER NUT  8, 10-0  (W D Francis)  J.Bourke 

23   004220   MISS HUNTER  9, 10-0  (D.Auld - IRE)  F.Shortt 

24  3-040P3   NO JUSTICE  9, 10-0  (A S Neaves)  J.Guest 

25   2FP302   ON THE MOVE  8, 10-1*  (D J A Dartnall)  G.Dartnall 

26     /1P-F41   PERRY HILL  11, 10-0  (H R Price)  P.Kellaway 

27   P00003   PERSIAN HELEN  7, 10-0  (M A O`Toole - IRE)  D T Hughes 

28   P00232   PRIDE OF KENTUCKY  8, 10-0  (E R Courage)  J.Buckingham 

29    0U1403  QUEEN`S GUIDE  9, 10-0  (W Wade)  Mr G Wade 

30    21F2UF   RACOON  8, 10-3*  (F T Walwyn)  D.Mould 

31      42144F   VILLAY  12, 10-0  (L G Scott)  Mr D Scott 

32   00-1230   VULTURE  8, 10-0  (T W Dreaper - IRE)  S.Barke

S.P : 13-2 Two Springs, 100-8 Dozo &French Excuse, 13-1 Pride of Kentucky & Red Alligator, 100-7 Specify, 15-1 GAY TRIP & Vulture, 20-1 The Otter, 22-1 Bowgeeno, Rondetto & The Beeches, 25-1 Battledore, 28-1 Assad, Ginger Nut & Perry Hill, 33-1 Miss Hunter & Racoon, 35-1 Permit 7 Persian Helen, 40-1 Queens Guide, 50-1 All Glory, Fort Ord, No Justice & The Fossa, 100-1 Game Purston, On the Move & Villay

Aintree debutants (18)

Assad*, All Glory*, Battledore, Bowgeeno, French Excuse*, Gay Trip, Ginger Nut*. No Justice*, On the Move*, Permit, Perry Hill*, Persian Helen*,Racoon*, Queens Guide*, Specify, The Otter, Two Springs, Vulture 

Winners at Aintree

Dozo - Topham Trophy (1969) 

Red Alligator - Grand National (1968) 

The Fossa - Grand Sefton (1965) 


1st    GAY TRIP - Pat Taaffe 

2nd  VULTURE - Sean Barker 

3rd   MISS HUNTER - Frank Shortt 

4th    DOZO - Eddie Harty 

5th    GINGER NUT - Jimmy Bourke 

6th  PRIDE OF KENTUCKY J.Buckingham 

7th    ASSAD - Josh Gifford 


Time : 9 minutes 38 seconds

Distances :  20-1/2-2 1/2-1-8

Owned by Mr A J Chambers

Trained by Fred Rimell at Kinnersley Worcestershire 

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