The Grand Sefton Chase 1946 - 1965

First run in 1865 the Grand Sefton was the most important of the four jumps events at the Autumn meeting and regulary attracted a host of National prospects both past and future. During the fifties seven Grand Sefton winners went on to try their luck in the National but only one, FREEBOOTER, managed to win both races in the same season (during its history only five horses managed this feat). WOT NO SUN had also been placed twice before his victory in the Grand Sefton. In 1953 the first five in the Grand Sefton all contested the National but only second placed IRISH LIZARD completed the course. This was a genuine Grand National Trial as of the seventy two runners who ran in the race during the sixties sixty one ran in the National itself and of the winners only Polished Steel (this was his only Aintree appearance) did not. NICOLAUS SILVER in 1961 remains the only horse to win the Grand Sefton in the same year as his National triumph while TEAM SPIRIT managed to win both races in the same season. In 1961 & 1962 all the runners completed the course without mishap. 

Role of Honour

1946    WAR RISK     B.Hobbs                                                                                                      R.Turnell       12 

1947    GOOD DATE     J.Powell                                                                                          J.Dowdeswell       9 

1948    LECALE PRINCE     P.Cazalet                                                                                   Lord Mildmay      15 

1949    FREEBOOTER     R.Renton                                                                                                J.Power       7 

1950    SHAGREEN     T W Dreaper (IRE)                                                                                       G.Kelly       13 

1951     FREEBOOTER     R.Renton                                                                                                J.Power        9 

1952    WOT NO SUN     N.Crump                                                                                               T.Molony       6

1953    CONEYBURROW     J.Osborne (IRE)                                                                                 P.Taaffe       9 

1954    Abandonned waterlogged course   

1955    GENTLE MOYA    C.Bewicke                                                                                          G.Milburn       11 

1956    KEY ROYAL     W.Stephenson                                                                                         T.Molony       9 

1957    WYNDBURGH     P.Wilkinson                                                                                      M.Batchelor      14 

1958    TIBERETTA     E.Courage                                                                                                    D.Ancil       12

1959    POLISHED STEEL     R.Curran                                                                                      J.Fitzgerald      12 

1960    ERNEST       R.Renton                                                                                                   B.Wilkinson       8 

1961     NICOLAUS SILVER     T F Rimell                                                                                     H.Beasley      11 

1962    ETERNAL     R Fenwick-Palmer                                                                                  T.Brookshaw      10 

1963    TEAM SPIRIT     F.Walwyn                                                                                         G W Robinson      9 

1964    RED THORN     T F Rimell                                                                                        T.Biddlecombe     14

1965    THE FOSSA      T F Rimell                                                                                                    S.Mellor      8 

 Grand Sefton runners in that seasons National

1946 - 

1947 - HOUSEWARMER (2nd - fell), MUSICAL LAD (3rd - fell), CROMWELL (fell - 3rd) 

1948 - PARTHENON (2nd - fell), SOUTHBOROUGH (3rd - fell), CLYDUFFE (5th - 10th), PERFECT NIGHT (6th - 11th), BRUNO II (bd - fell)

1949 - FREEBOOTER (WON - WON), MONAVEEN (2nd - 5th), INCHMORE (4th - 7th) 

1950- SHAGREEN (WON - fell), FREEBOOTER (2nd - bd), FINNURE (3rd - fell), RUSSIAN HERO (4th - ur), ROWLAND ROY (7th - fell)

1951 -  FREEBOOTER (WON - fell), RUSSIAN HERO (5th - fell)

1952-  BAIRE (3rd - fell)

1953 - CONNEYBURROW (WON - fell), IRISH LIZARD (2nd - 3rd), LEGAL JOY (3rd - fell), ORDNANCE (4th - fell), BAIRE (5th - fell)

1954 - Abandonned due to waterlogged course

1955 - GENTLE MOYA (WON - 2nd), ONTRAY (fell - ur)

1956- GLORIOUS TWELFTH (2nd - 4th), ARMORIAL III  (3rd - fell), GENTLE MOYA (4th - 11th), SUNDEW (7th - WON), MUCH OBLIGED (fell - fell)

1957 - WYNDBURGH (WON - 4th), SYDNEY JONES (3rd - bd), EAGLE LODGE (4th - pu), ATHENIAN (fell - fell), THE CROFTER (fell - fell), ACE OF TRUMPS (fell - pu)

1958 - TIBERETTA (WON - 4th), GREEN DRILL (2nd - fell), CANNOBIE LEE (3rd - fell), IRISH COFFEE (fell - fell)

1959 - WYNDBURGH (2nd - fell), CANNOBIE LEE (3rd - ref), GREEN DRILL (5th - 6th), PENDLE LADY (6th - fell), BELSIZE II (fell- ur), CLANYON (fell - bd)

1960 - ERNEST (1st - 12th), MR WHAT (2nd - 11th), TEA FIEND (4th - fell), FRESH WINDS (5th - ur), WYNDBURGH (fell - 6th)

1961 - NICOLAUS SILVER (1st - 7th), SIRACUSA (4th - fell), MR WHAT (6th - 3rd), CLEAR PROFIT (8th - 17th), ERNEST (10th - 9th), WYNDBURGH (11th - 2nd)

1962 -  ETERNAL (WON - 11th), HOLM STAR (4th - pu), NICOLAUS SILVER (6th - 10th)

1963 - TEAM SPIRIT (WON - WON), APRIL ROSE (3rd - 7th), PEACETOWN (4th - 3rd), REPRIEVED (6th - pu), BORDER FLIGHT (fell- fell)

1964 - APRIL ROSE (5th - 11th), RUBY GLEN (7th - bd), BLACK SPOT (11th - fell), RED TIDE (12th - fell), QUINTIN BAY (fell - pu), SIZZLE-ON (pu - bd)

1965 - THE FOSSA (WON - 4th), SUPERSWEET (3rd - fell), KAPENO (ur - fell)

The race was revived for one year only in 1972 when it was run as the William Hill Grand National Trial providing Ginger McCain and Noel le Mare with their first success over the Aintree fences with GLENKILN.

The race name was revived in 2003 but the new Grand Sefton is in my view a pale imitation of its predecessor and is more of a Topham Trial. For me the spiritual successor to the Grand Sefton is the Becher Chase first run in 1992 over a new distance of three miles and three furlongs.

 Further reading : The Complete Record - issue 29 (Paul Davies - 2002)