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The Autumn Meeting 1946 - 1965

Run over three days in late October/early November, the Autumn meeting was a mixed affair with flat races providing most of the "entertainment" (used in the loosest sense of the word although the Liverpool Autumn Cup was a fairly competitive end of season handicap). Three hurdle races were staged at the meeting, the Prospect, November and Abbeystead Hurdles (the latter for three year olds was re-introduced in 1962 having been dropped from the programme during the fifties). These events, however paled into insignificance when compared to the races run over the National course. The Molyneux Chase was run on the Thurday, the Becher Chase on the Friday and the Grand Sefton on the Saturday. Having looked at the form books for these meetings it seems that the weather in Liverpool over the first week in November was usually very misty and quite often little could be seen from the stands. However, whatever the weather the events over the National fences provided some great races. Following Mrs Tophams announcement in July 1964 that she was to sell the course for development the meeting was on borrowed time. It was staged as planned as part of Aintrees final season in 1964-65 and as the legal challenges to the sale by Lord Sefton kept Aintree open, Mrs Topham as a "goodwill gesture" (her words not mine) staged a truncated two day meeting in 1965. All six National Hunt races were kept with the Becher being run after the Grand Sefton on the Saturday. And that was it, the meeting disappeared although it was resurrected for one year only in 1972. It is tragic that the meeting was long gone by the time the likes of Red Rum graced the Aintree turf. Just think how many other races Rummy could have won at Aintree had the Autumn meeting been around in his lifetime. 

The Becher Chase

Run over two miles & five furlongs with the Chair as the second fence the race was staged twice at the National meeting in 1946 & 1947 before it was restored to its rightful place in the Autumn. This meant that the race was run twice in 1947. It was not really a National trial as can seen from the table below. Winning the Becher Chase in the fifties was something of a kiss of death in the National (sadly quite literally in the case of ROYAL MOUNT who broke a leg in the National) with only TIBERETTA managing to complete the National course during the decade. In 1951 the first four in the Becher Chase all ran in the National - they all fell. 1959 National winner OXO, having been sidelined for most of the 1959-60 season made his return to Aintree in this race in 1960 and was just touched off on the flat by CLEAR PROFIT. KILMORE made an inauspicous Aintree debut a year later falling at the sixth fence. 1965 National third MR JONES won this in 1962 whilst Gold Cup winner Fortria finished second in 1963. In 1964 the race provided Her Majesty the Queen Mother with her first victory over the Aintree fences when Silver Dome triumphed. The last running was won impressively by FOREST PRINCE who made all the running to win by twelve lengths. He was later to put in one of Nationals greatest front running displays of all time in the 1966 National. Incidentally, eight of the nine runners completed the course that year and in total thirty eight of the fifty seven runners during the sixties completed the course. The only National winner to race in the Becher Chase was Freebooter who made his final Aintree appearance when taking the race in 1953.  


Becher Chase role of honour

1946   RED BRANCH (Ireland)    T.Hyde  (11) 

1947   KEEP FAITH (Ireland)    E.Newman  (19) 

1947   PRINCE REGENT (Ireland)    T.Hyde  (3) 

1948   KNIGHTS PASS (J.Powell)    P J Doyle  (7) 

1949   ROYAL MOUNT (M.Powell)    P J Doyle  (6) 

1950   CLONCARRIG (T.Masson)    R.Turnell  (8) 

1951    GREENOGUE (F.Harris)    G.Kelly  (5) 

1952   LARRY FINN (N.Crump)    P.Chisman  (5) 

1953   FREEBOOTER (R.Renton)    G.Slack  (11) 

1954   MR LINNET (Ireland)    P.Taaffe  (5) 

1955   STATE SECRET (W.Hall)    P.Farrell  (15) 

1956   ACE OF TRUMPS (C.Nicholson)    P.Farrell  (10) 

1957   TIBERETTA  (E.Courage)    A.Oughton  (12) 

1958   GOLDEN SONG (R.Curran)    R.Curran  (12) 

1959   HEADWAVE  (Ireland)    H Beasley  (10) 

1960   CLEAR PROFIT  (R.Newton)    B.Wilkinson  (6) 

1961    CASTLE PERILOUS  (Ireland)    P.Taaffe  (8) 

1962    MR JONES  (W A Stephenson)    C.Stobbs  (4) 

1963    LIZAWAKE  (P.Moore)    G.Hartigan  (6) 

1964    SILVER DOME  (P.Cazalet)    W.Rees  (14) 

1965    FOREST PRINCE  (N.Crump)    G.Scott  (9)

Becher Chase winners in that Years Grand National

1947   PRINCE REGENT - carried out 

1949   ROYAL MOUNT - fell 

1950   CLONCARRIG - fell 

1952   LARRY FINN - brought down 

1954   MR LINNETT - pulled up 

1957   TIBERETTA - 2nd 

1962   MR JONES - unseated rider

1963   LIZAWAKE - fell

1965   FOREST PRINCE - 3rd 

Number of Becher Chase runners in that seasons National

1947 (2), 1948 (1), 1949 (3), 1950 (4), 1951 (4), 1952 (3), 1953 (nil), 1954 (nil), 1955 (1), 1956 (2), 1957 (2), 1958 (nil), 1959 (2), 1960 (2), 1961 (3), 1962 (4 - all 4 runners lined up), 1963 (2), 1964 (3), 1965 (2)

The Molyneux Chase

Run over the same course and distance as the Topham & Foxhunters, the Molyneux Chase, like the Becher Chase was not a race to spot future National winners although it was a race that was popular amongst the Aintree regulars. 1964 National third PEACETOWN made his Aintree debut in the race in 1962 as did National fourth from 1967 GREEK SCHOLAR in the last ever Molyneux in 1965. The race provided Aintree regular EAGLE LODGE with his sole success over the National fences in 1959. No-one from its role of honour won a National but Topham winner Stormhead won this race twice.

Molyneux Chase role of honour.

1946   HOUSEWARMER  (Ireland)    D L Moore  (9) 

1947   CLONCARRIG  (Ireland)    M.Molony  (10) 

1948   IRISH LILT  (J.Powell)    P.J Doyle  (15) 

1949   CLONCARRIG  (T.Masson)    M.Molony  (13) 

1950   POSSIBLE  (W.Payne)    R.Francis  (13) 

1951    ROYAL STUART  (G R Owen)    T.Brookshaw  (10) 

1952   LITTLE YID  (R.Renton)    J.Power  (11) 

1953   LITTLE YID  (R.Renton)    G.Slack  (8) 

1954   LITTLE YID  (R.Renton)    G.Slack  (10) 

1955   STORMHEAD  (W.Hall)    P.Farrell  (12) 

1956   STORMHEAD  (W.Hall)    P.Farrell  (10) 

1957   BOLLINGER  (W.Hyde)    J.Power  (8) 

1958   OASIS  (T F Rimell)    T.Brookshaw  (12) 

1959   EAGLE LODGE  (M.Feakes)    A.Oughton  (12) 

1960   JONJO  (Ireland)    P.Taaffe  (10)

1961    CUPID`S CHANCE  (P.Cazalet)    W.Rees  (8) 

1962   DOMACILE  (L.Colville)    P.Taaffe  (14) 

1963   SIRACUSA  (R.Renton)    D.Mould  (10) 

1964   LESLIE  (A.Kilpatrick)    P.Jones  (8)

1965   VALOUIS  (Ireland)    E.Prendergast  (9) 


Molyneux Chase winners in that seasons National

1946   HOUSEWARMER - 6th 

1947   CLONCARRIG - Fell 

1949   CLONCARRIG - Fell 

1951    ROYAL STUART - Refused 

1952   LITTLE YID - Refused 

1954   LITTLE YID - Pulled up 

1959   EAGLE LODGE - Pulled up

1960   JONJO - 7th

1964    LESLIE - Pulled up

1965   VALOUIS - Brought down

Number of Molyneux Chase runners in that seasons National


1946 (3), 1947 (2), 1948 (2), 1949 (3), 1950 (3), 1951 (4), 1952 (3), 1953 (2), 1954 (4), 1955 (2), 1956 (1), 1957 (2), 1958 (1), 1959 (1), 1960 (1), 1961 (1), 1962 (3), 1963 (nil), 1964 (2), 1965 (2)

The Valentine Chase

The forgotten race of the Autumn meeting was run on the last day when it was a four day affair although it was moved to the Wednesday for its final two runnings. The race disappeared from the fixture when the Autumn meeting was reduced to three days. It attracted few prospective National runners but several winners did run in the National and with the exception of Acthon Major they didn`t achieve much. It did provide the excitement of a dead-heat in its final running in 1952.

Further reading : The Complete Record - Issue 65 (Paul Davies 2013)  

Valentine Chase Role of Honour

1946   MARTIN M  (M Kilpatrick)    W.Skrine  (6) 

1947   KILNAGLORY  (F T Walwyn)    B.Marshall  (8) 

1948   ULSTER MONARCH  (J.Wight)    R.Curran  (11) 

1949   ACTHON MAJOR  (Easterby)    R J O`Ryan  (7) 

1950   PRINCE BROWNIE  (P.Cazalet)    A.Grantham  (11) 

1951    BORDER LUCK  (J.Bower)    T.Shone  (9) 

1952   SERGEANT KELLY  (J.Paisley)    L.McMorrow

           UNCLE BARNEY (H.Clarkson)    J.Boddy (dead-heat)  (11) 


Valentine Chase winners in that seasons National

1946   MARTIN M (pulled up) 

1948   ULSTER MONARCH (fell) 

1949   ACTHON  MAJOR (3rd) 

1950   PRINCE BROWNIE (fell) 

1951    BORDER LUCK (unseated rider) 

Number of Valentine Chase runners in that years National


1946 (2), 1947 (nil), 1948 (1), 1949 (1), 1950 (1), 1951 (3), 1952 (2) 

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