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1956 - ESB

The winner

ESB was as tough as they came. After his exertions at Aintree he reappeared in May at Hurst Park finishing second in the valuable Queen Elizabeth Chase. The following year he won the Great Yorkshire Chase for a second year, finished unplaced in the Gold Cup and finished eighth behind Sundew in the National. In 1957-58 he finished sixth in what was his last appearance in the National having won over the Mildmay fences at the Yuletide meeting on the way. He may have run in his last National but he he was not finished with Aintree. He won a Lancashire Chase at Manchester, a Grand Sefton Trial at Hurst Park and finished  second and third in the 1959 & 1960 Tophams. This remarkable animal ran for the final time at Aintree aged fourteen in November 1960 in what was his last race. Leading at the last he eventually finished third in the Grand Sefton. A truly wonderful servant to his connections he enjoyed a long and happy retirement at his owners estate in Warwickshire. He died in 1976.

Leading Fancies


Favourite was an Aintree debutant MUST who started at 7-1. He was a fine jumper and stayed forever as he had shown when beating a competitive field over four miles at Cheltenham over the Christmas period. He had not been seen out since finishing fourth in the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown. SUNDEW started next best at 8-1. He had been beaten by ESB at Manchester but had won the Hurst Park Grand National Trial where he had had last years hero Quare Times (missing this year through injury) behind him. CAREY`s COTTAGE had not managed to win all season but he had finished third in a Munster National and second in a Kerry National and was running for new connections. Following a spell over hurdles 100-7 shot ESB had won at Birmingham and Haydock before beating Sundew at Manchester. The most popular winner would be the Queen Mother`s DEVON LOCH. One of two horses in the field carrying the royal colours he had won at Lingfield and Sandown in the autumn before finishing fifth in the King George. Thereafer he had been third in the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown (finishing a place ahead of Must) and  finished third in the National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Festival. He had an excellent chance in what was a smaller than usual field. Of the others previous winners EARLY MIST and ROYAL TAN were lining up again and special mention should be made of POLONIUS who was incredibly having his eighteenth race of the season.

GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (56 entries), 4 1/2 miles  £8,695 5s to the winner

1   4000-03  EARLY MIST  11, 12-2  (M V O`Brien - IRE)  B.Marshall

2   F00-010  ROYAL TAN  12, 12-1  (M V O`Brien - IRE)  T.Taaffe

4       13F110  MARINER`S LOG  9, 11-11  (G.Beeby)  R.Emery

5     -411033  DEVON LOCH  10, 11-4  (P.Cazalet)  R.Francis

6     F2-F112  SUNDEW  10, 11-4  (F.Hudson)  F T Winter

7        121311  ESB  10, 11-3  (T F Rimell)  D V Dick

8    4-12F23  HIGH GUARD  9, 11-1  (N.Crump)  A P Thompson

9     01F004  MUCH OBLIGED  8, 11-0  (N.Crump)  M.Scudamore*

10   00-1322  DUNBOY II  12, 11-0  (J S Wight)  Mr R Brewis

11   3-2342F  CAREY`S COTTAGE  9, 10-13  (G.Balding)  R.Turnell

12   1F-4202  ARMORIAL III  7, 10-10  (F T Walwyn)  J.Dowdeswell

13   122-043  MERRY WINDSOR  8, 10-10  (D.Doyle)  L.McMorrow

14   2F-F214  MUST  8, 10-10  (A S Kilpatrick)  R.Morrow

15    0-31112   KEY ROYAL  8, 10-8  (W.Stephenson)  T.Molony

16     143231  M`AS-TU-VU  10, 10-6  (P.Cazalet)  A.Freeman

17  F020-00  REVEREND PRINCE  10, 10-5  (P.Dufosee)  Mr C Pocock

18        R/R-2  WITTY  11, 10-4  (W.Hall)  P A Farrell

19       /0440  DOMATA  10, 10-4  (F.Cundell)  D.Ancil

20  230200  POLONIUS  10, 10-3  (G.Burnham)  E F Kelly*

21      11F140  ATHENIAN  7, 10-3  (G.Balding)  R J Hamey

22  0-31430  GENTLE MOYA  10, 10-2  (C.Bewicke)  G.Milburn*

23  F0F-002  NO RESPONSE  10, 10-1  (J.Osborne - IRE)  C.Finnegan

24  30-10FU  CLEARING  9, 10-1  (W.Stephenson)  J A Bullock

25     141042  EAGLE LODGE  7, 10-0  (M.Feakes)  A.Oughton

26   F02033  ONTRAY  8, 10-0  (L S Briggs)  R.Curran*

28  20-0004  WILD WISDOM  11, 10-0  (J.Ford)  Mr L Bridge*

29  -033400  BORDER LUCK  11, 10-0  (J R Bower)  M O`Dwyer*

30      021311  PIPPYKIN  8, 10-0  (S.Parker)  J.Power

31    -020421  MARTINIQUE  10, 10-0 (G R Owen)  S.Mellor

* H J East down to ride Much Obliged in the racecard

* Mr C Hailstone down to ride Polonius in the racecard

* Mr J Straker down to ride Gente Moya in the racecard

* N.Wilkinson down to ride Ontray in the racecard

* A.Grantham down to ride Wild Wisdom in the racecard

* P.Major down to ride Border Luck in the racecard

Non Runners : 3 QUARE TIMES (P.Taaffe), 27 VICTORY MORN (J.Cuddihy), 32 VENETIAN LAW, 33 SUN CLASP (K.Maudsley)

S.P : 7-1 Must, 8-1 Sundew, 10-1 Carey`s Cottage, 100-7 Devon Loch, ESB & Pippykin, 100-6 Ontray, 20-1 Armorial III, 22-1 Gentle Moya, High Guard & Mariner`s Log, 25-1 Early Mist, 28-1 Key Royal, Merry Windsor & Royal Tan, 40-1 Martinique, M`as-tu-Vu & Reverend Prince, 50-1 Much Obliged & No Response, 66-1 Athenian, Border Luck, Clearing, Domata, Dunboy II, Merry Windsor, Polonius, Wild Wisdom & Witty


Aintree debutants 


Armorial III, Athenian, Devon Loch*, Domata*, Dunboy II*, Merry Windsor*, Much Obliged, Must, Polonius*, Reverend Prnce*


Winners at Aintree


Border Luck - Valentine Chase (1951)

Early Mist - Grand National (1953)

Gentle Moya - Grand Sefton Chase (1955)

Royal Tan - Grand National (1954)

Uncle Barney - Valentine Chase (1952)



1st   ESB - D V Dick

2nd GENTLE MOYA - G.MIlburn

3rd  ROYAL TAN - T.Taaffe

4th  EAGLE LODGE - A.Oughton

5th  KEY ROYAL - T.Molony

6th  MARTINIQUE - S.Mellor

7th  CAREY`S COTTAGE - R.Turnell

8th  CLEARING - J A Bullock

9th  WILD WISDOM - Mr L Bridge


Time : 9 minutes 21 2/5 seconds.

Distances : 10-10-1/2-15-20

Owned by Mrs LCarver

Trained by Fred Rimell at Kinnersley,Worcestershire

1957 - Sundew

Leading Fancies


In attempt to halt the trend of declining crowds Mrs Topham decided to revert to the Nationals traditional day and this year the race was run on the Friday of the meeting. Judging by the sparse crowds the effort was not a success. Starting favourite at 5-1 was GOOSANDER on the back of three straight wins having won twice at Haydock including the Grand National Trial. MUCH OBLIGED at 10-1 had been travelling sweetly when he had fallen five from home in 1956 and he had been very impressive at Sandown earlier in the season when landing the Mildmay Memorial although he had been behind ESB in the  Great Yorkshire Chase. 12-1 shot GLORIOUS TWELFTH had finished second in the Grand Sefton and won a small race at Leicester. He had twice chased Much Obliged home. Another behind Much Obliged at Sandown was 100-7 shot HART ROYAL who had won three times this season, his biggest success been when winning the Lancashire Chase at Manchester. The leading Irish challenger was TUTTO who had been running non-stop since the previous June. This was to be his twelfth start. He had won four times including a surprise win in the Leopardstown. It had to be conceded though that it was a slightly weaker Irish challenge this year. SUNDEW was the only jumper in his trainer Frank Hudsons small yard at Henley-In-Arden. A big imposing horse he had twice run in the National and twice fallen, the second time when he was still in contention when his race ended at second Bechers. This year he had finished last of seven finishers in the Grand Sefton, finished third in the Great Yorkshire Chase and won his last start, the Grand International Chase at Sandown where he had made all the running and beaten Glorious Twelfth by six lengths. He started at 20-1 as did last years hero ESB who was running consistently all season and had beaten several of his rivals in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster on his last start.

GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (68 entries), 4 1/2 miles £8,793 10s to the winner


1     2-23331  ESB  11, 11-13  (T F Rimell)  D V Dick

2       313113  ROSE PARK  11, 11-13  (P.Cazalet)  G.Nicholls

4    103-000  ROYAL TAN  13, 11-12  (M V O`Brien - IRE)  T.Taaffe

5      42F010  FOUR TEN  11, 11-11  (A S Kilpatrick)  R.Morrow

6      4-40111  GOOSANDER  9, 11-7  (N.Crump)  H J East

7     F-00231  SUNDEW  11, 11-7  (F.Hudson)  F T Winter

8        1FF114  MUCH OBLIGED  9, 11-4  (N.Crump)  M.Scudamore

9      102210  ICELOUGH  11, 11-3  (T J Taaffe - IRE)  P.Taaffe

10  F-03330  ARMORIAL III   8, 11-1  (F T Walwyn)  J A Bullock

11     321222  GLORIOUS TWELFTH  8, 11-1  (R.Renton)  B.Wilkinson

12    322U01  MERRY THROW  9, 10-12  (W.Dutton)  T.Brookshaw

13      /0001P  VIRGINIUS  8, 10-12  (M V O`Brien - IRE)  Mr A.Lillingstone

14      021311   HART ROYAL  9, 10-10  (I.Lomax)  P.Pickford

15    F-23120  ATHENIAN  8, 10-7  (G.Balding)  D.Ancil

16        111441  WYNBURGH  7, 10-7  (P.Wilkinson)  M.Batchelor

17      - 143011  GENTLE MOYA  11, 10-6  (C.Bewicke)  G.Milburn

18    -23000  CAREY`S COTTAGE  10, 10-6  (G.Balding)  T.Shone

19       113421  TUTTO  10, 10-6  (M.Pollard - IRE)  J.Lehane

20   044-210  RENDEZ-VOUS III  9, 10-6  (H G Bowsher)  A.Freeman

21       102113  SYDNEY JONES  10, 10-5  (P.Tory)  Mr M Tory

22      421134  FELIAS  9, 10-5  (F T Walwyn)  W.Rees

23    -441FF2  CHINA CLIPPER II  10, 10-3  (R.Turnell)  Maj W D Gibson

24    433300  IRISH LIZARD  14, 10-2  (H.Nicholson)  D.Nicholson

25    00401F  SANDY JANE II  10, 10-2  (P.Murphy)  H R Beasley

26   U0-3140  CLEARING  10, 10-1 (W.Stephenson)  R.Curson

27     U42411  MORCATOR  10, 10-0  (G R Owen)  L.McMorrow

28    P20321  RED MENACE  8, 10-0  (W.Dutton)  L.Wigham

29  -0P0003  THE CROFTER  9, 10-0  (W D Francis)  J.Power*

30    210300  TIBERETTA  9, 10-0  (E.Courage)  A.Oughton*

31     F4R0P0  GO-WELL  9, 10-0  (A S Kilpatrick)  Capt P.Bengough*

32 0D-0032  WILD WISDOM  12, 10-0  (L.Bridge)  Mr L.Bridge

35    012400  FAHRENHEIT  10, 10-0  (J J Marshall - IRE)  T O`Brien

36         /P03  MONKEY WRENCH  12, 10-0  (W.Stephenson)  R J Hamey*

37      041F14  WAKING  13, 10-0  (J.Burgess)  Capt A W C Pearn

38  -0F4040  CHERRY ABBOT  12, 10-0  (C H Ferrie)  G.Underwood

* P J Fitzgerald down to ride The Crofter in the racecard

* E F Kelly down to ride Tiberetta in the racecard

* D.Elsworth down to ride Go-Well in the racecard

* D.Goose down to ride Monkey Wrench in the racecard


The following horses were confirmed to run and appeared in the racecard but were withdrawn : -

3 SAM BROWNTHORN (Mr J R Cox), 33 EAGLE LODGE (A.Oughton), 34 RONDINO (G.Mann)

S.P : 5-1 Goosander, 10-1 Much Obliged, 12-1 Glorious Twelfth, 100-7 Hart Royal, 100-6 Tutto, 20-1 ESB, Rendez-Vous III, SUNDEW, 25-1 Sydney Jones & Wynburgh, 28-1 Gentle Moya, Icelough, Rose Park & Royal Tan, 33-1 Red Menace, 40-1 Merry Throw & Sandy Jane II, 45-1 Clearing & Felias, 50-1 Armorial III, Carey`s Cottage, Four Ten, Morcator & Virginius, 66-1 Athenian, Cherry Abbot, China Clipeer II, Fahrenheit, Go-Well, Irish Lizard, Monkey Wrench, The Crofter, Tiberetta, Waking & Wild Wisdom

 Aintree Debutants (16)


China Clipper II*, Fahrenheit*, Felias*, Four Ten, Go-Well*, Hart Royal, Icelough*, Merry Throw, Monkey Wrench*, Morcator*, Red Menace*, Sandy Jane II*, Sydney Jones, The Crofter, Tiberetta, Tutto*, Virginius*, Waking*, Wynburgh


Winners at Aintree (4)


ESB - Grand National (1965)

Gentle Moya - Grand Sefton Chase (1955)

Irish Lizard - Molyneux Chase (1948), Topham Trophy (1953)

Royal Tan - Grand National (1954)



1st   SUNDEW - F T Winter

2nd WYNBURGH - M.Batchelor

3rd  TIBERETTA - A.Oughton

4th  GLORIOUS TWELFTH - B.Wilkinson

5th  THE CROFTER - J.Power

6th  GOOSANDER - H J East

7th   SYDNEY JONES - Mr M Tory

8th   ESB - D V Dick

9th   MERRY THROW - T.Brookshaw

10th  SANDY JANE II - H R Beasley

11th  GENTLE MOYA - G.Milburn

Time : 9 minutes, 42 1/5 seconds

Distances : 10-10-1/2-15-20

Owned by Mrs G.Kohn

Trained by Frank Hudson in Henley-on-Arden, Warwickshire

The Winner

After the National Sundew disappointed in the inaugural Whitbread Gold Cup and was put away for the season. After a spin over hurdles at Nottingham he returned to Aintree to finish fifth behind Wynburgh in the Grand Sefton. All was set for another attempt on the National but tragically in his next start three weeks later whilst leading in a small race at Haydock he fell at the water jump, broke his shoulder and had to be destroyed. A  race was named after him at the course where he met his end and the racename continued into the late seventies. It boasted an impressive list of winners including L`Escargot, Pendil and Bula (the latter two trained by Sundews jockey Fred Winter).

1958 - Mr What

The winner

Mr What never won another race despite being extensively campaigned over the next five seasons. He became something of an Aintree regular appearing in each of the next five Nationals. He finished a distant third behind Oxo in 1959, fell at second Bechers when in contention in 1960 and was only eleventh (on firm ground that he hated) in 1961. In 1962 for new connections (he was now trained in England) he ran a superb race to finish third behind two Aintree old timers, Kilmore and Wyndburgh on the heavy ground he so loved. His last National was an anti-climax as he  refused on the first circuit. On that occasion he was ridden by a young Irish jockey called Tommy Carberry who was having his first National ride.

Leading Fancies

Running the National on a Friday had been a miserable failure so Mrs Topham reversed the idea. Traditionalists may not have been pleased but in a post war world where Saturday was the recognized day of leisure it was the only viable option to stage the race on a Saturday and I wonder in this ever changing world when we will be embracing a Sunday National ? With Sundew sadly meeting his end at Haydock favouritism went to his vanquished rival of twelve months ago, WYNDBURGH who had reversed the placings with Sundew in the Grand Sefton and then won the gruelling Eider Chase at Newcastle unchallenged. The only blot in an otherwise successful campaign had been when he had unseated his rider at he last fence when in contention in the Mildmay Memorial. He started at 6-1. Next up at 100-7 came GOOSANDER, a distant fifth behind Wyndbugh in the Eider and he was the only marker leader without a win all season. Having said that he liked Aintree and had run the race of his life in the National twelve months ago having been up with the leaders throughout before fading to finish sixth. No doubt it was the form shown in that race which made him so popular with punters. The leading Irish challenger was MR WHAT. He had won the Troytown Chase (beating Sentina) and had also won two other chases in a busy season (this was to be his ninth start of the campaign). He was one of five runners starting at 18-1. The others were HART ROYAL, a first fence faller in 1957 but with two wins from four starts this year and three very robust individuals,  the National Hunt Handicap Chase winner SENTINA (eleventh race of the season), EAGLE LODGE (twelfth race) with five wins under his belt at Kempton, Hurst Park, Plumpton and twice at Fontwell and SPRINGSILVER (fourteenth race) who had won the Birdlip Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and had been running consistently since the previous summer winning over both fences and hurdles in his native Ireland.

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (sponsored by Irish Hospital Sweepstakes) 4 1/2 miles, £13,719 to the winner

1    0-10B03   ESB  12, 11-12  (T F Rimell)  D V Dick

3  0-04020   GOOSANDER  10, 11-7  (N.Crump)  T.Molony

4     213100   WISE CHILD  10, 11-6  (C.Bewicke)  S.Hayhurst

5   004340   GLORIOUS TWELFTH  9, 11-3  (R.Renton)  B.Wilkinson

6      1413U1   WYNDBURGH  8, 11-3  (K.Oliver)  M.Batchelor

7      121-214  COLLEDGE MASTER  8, 11-2  (R.Turnell)  W.Rees

8   -442220  LONGMEAD  8, 11-1  (J.Corbett - IRE)  G W Robinson

9    200F00  HOLLY BANK  11, 10-13  (W.Hide)  Mr P.Brookshaw

10   2F13-1F   ACE OF TRUMPS  10, 10-12  (C.Nicholson)  P A Farrell

11   013024    ATHENIAN  9, 10-11  (P.Cazalet)  D.Ancil

12   123U01    SENTINA  8, 10-11  (T W Dreaper - IRE)  P.Taaffe

13  F-03101    HART ROYAL  10, 10-11  (I.Lomax)  P.Pickford

14  -112033    GREEN DRILL  8, 10-10  (C.Bewicke)  G.Milburn

16  324420   SYDNEY JONES  11, 10-12*  (P.Tory)  Mr M.Tory

17 10/2-022   VALIANT SPARK  9, 10-7 (E.Champneys) M.Scudamore

18  430302   TIBERETTA  10, 10-6  (E.Courage)  G.Slack

20 0-0P104   RENDEZ-VOUS III  10, 10-3  (W.Wightman) J A Bullock

21  340000   BROOKLING  9, 10-3  (G.Wells - IRE)  T.Taaffe*

22  240431   SPRINGSILVER  8, 10-4  (C.Magnier - IRE)  F T Winter*

23  102204   NEVER SAY WHEN  9, 10-2  (F.Cundell)  S.Mellor

24  -31B221   PIPPYKIN  10, 10-5*  (W.Whiston)  T.Brookshaw

26    /22P-0  PRINCESS GARTER  11, 10-3*  (E.Davies)  Mr W.Roberts

27 F-20000  MUST  10, 10-1  (W.Pilkington)  R.Morrow

28   140F00  SOUTHERNTOWN  12, 10-1  (P.Doherty)  P.Cowley

29  0F0400  THE CROFTER  10, 10-0  (W D Francis)  J.Power

30 MOSTON LANE  9, 10-0  (R,Ward) - R E Jenkins*                     

31    3P0B0  RICHARDSTOWN  10, 10-0  (M.Neville -IRE) J.Morrissey*

32     410131  EAGLE LODGE  9, 10-0  (M.Feakes)  A.Oughton

33     012112  MR WHAT  8, 10-6  (T.Taaffe - IRE)  A.Freeman

34   430300 COMEDIANS FOLLY  10, 10-0  (L G Scott)  Mr D.Scott

35 P/PPF0-4 FROZEN CREDIT  12, 10-12*  (W.Ransom) Mr P.Ransom

* J.Gale down to ride Brookling in the racecard

* W J Brennan down to ride Springsilver in the racecard

* L.Wigham down to ride Moston Lane in the racecard

* C.Finnegan down to ride Richardstown in the racecard

Non Runners : 2 SAM BROWNTHORN (-), 15 BREMONTIER (A.Rosslo), 19 TOP TWENTY (F.Shortt), 25 BELROBIN (John Lehane)

S P :  6-1 Wyndburgh, 100-7 Goodander, 18-1 Eagle Lodge, Hart Royal, MR WHAT, Sentina, Springsilver, 20-1 Valiant Spark, 22-1 Athenian, Pippykin, 25-1 Colledge Master, 28-1 Brookiling, ESB, Glorious Twelfth, Green Drill, Longmead, Sydney Jones, Tiberetta, 40-1Ace Of Trumps, Richardstown, The Crofter, 45-1 Rendez Vous III, Wise Child, 50-1 Holly Bank, Must, Never Say When, 66-1 Comedians Folly, Frozen Credit, Moston Lane, Princess Garter, Southerntown

Aintree debutants 

Comedians Folly*, Frozen Credit*, Green Drill, Holly Bank*, Longmead*, Mr What, Nic Atkins*, Richardstown, Southerntown, Springsilver*. Valiant Spark

Winners at Aintree 

Ace of Trumps - Becher Chase (1956)

Colledge Master - Foxhunters Chase (1957)

ESB - Grand National (1956)

Tiberetta - Becher Chase (1957)

Wyndburgh - Grand Sefton Chase (1957)


1st   MR WHAT - A.Freeman

2nd TIBERETTA - G.Slack

3rd  GREEN DRILL - G.Milburn

4th  WYNBURGH - M.Batchelor

5th  GOOSANDER - T.Molony

6th  ESB - D V Dick

7th  HOLLY BANK - Mr P.Brookshaw

Time : 9 minutes, 59 4/5 seconds

Distances :  30-15-15-20-12

Owned by D J Coughlan

Trained by Tom Taaffe in Ireland

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