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The Aintree Grand National 2006

History Of The Grand National

1836 - 1860 1861 - 1885 1886 - 1910 1911 - 1935 1936- 1960 1961 - 1985 1986 - 2005

The 1960 Grand National

The 1960 Grand National moved the event into a new era, an era of television, as it became the first of the annual races held at Aintree to be watched by those not in attendance. Commentator Peter O'Sullevan brought the race to the viewer's living rooms as he described the success of "Merryman II" who became the first horse to win the Grand National in a decade when starting the race as favourite. Gerry Scott had the privilege of being the first jockey to pass the post in a Grand National that was live on TV as the 13-2 bet pairing were etched into the history books together.

Twenty-six horses took part with eight of those finishing as "Badanloch", "Clear Profit" and "Tea Friend" were the next three to be watched crossing the finishing line ridden by jockeys Mr. S Mellor, Mr. B Wilkinson and Mr. P G Madden with all six finishing in second, third and fourth respectively.

Commentator Peter O'Sullevan has been present to watch many Grand National's over the years and has even published books about the event, one of which can be found in our bookstore by clicking here, or if you wish to buy Peter O'Sullevan's book directly please click here.

The 1959 Grand National

The 1959 Grand National was very similar to the 1958 race in the sense that three of the previous years top four horses again finished in the top four and the usual suspects riding recent horses, which performed very well coming back again. It was therefore little surprise when "Wyndburgh", "Mr What" and "Tiberetta" all finished from second to fourth with "Mr What" in third as 6-1 favourite and Tom Taaffe in the saddle.

The surprise on the surface of it may have seemed to be that "Oxo" who had not finished in the top four of a Grand National before 1959 won the race, but only to the outsiders. Those who knew Michael Schudamore was to be riding the exceptionally fast horse betted wisely reducing the horse's odds to 8-1 just prior to the race as it won and won well.

The 1958 Grand National

The impressive "Mr What" won the 1958 Grand National for owner Mr. D J Coughan, jockey Arthur Freeman and Irish trainer and former Grand National jockey Tom Taaffe. The team began at 18-1 and was pushed hard in a race that featured thirty-one horses and many fan favourites such as the returning "Wyndburgh" who began as the favourite at 6-1. "Wyndburgh" did however finish fourth while again being ridden by Mr. M Batchelor with "Tibberetta" in second and "Green Drill" in third.

The 1957 Grand National

The 1957 Grand National was won by eleven year-old "Sundew" on the 29th of March with the horse being ridden by Fred Winter who had raced in the National on three previous occasions, failing to finish each time. The horse was owned by Mrs. Geoffrey Kohn who was the third female owner in three years to win the Grand National following on from Mrs. W Welman in 1955 and Mrs. Leonard Carver in 1956.

Second in the race was "Wyndburgh" who would finish in the top four three times in the six years from 1957 without winning the race and even being installed as favourite in 1958. "Tiberetta" was next in third and would also finish in the top four three times over the next few years ridden twice by Mr. A Oughton who rode "Eagle Lodge" to four a year earlier followed by "Glorious Twelfth" in fourth.

The 1956 Grand National

Dave Dick won the 1956 Grand National bringing to an end his quest for victory, which spanned several years and saw him finish in the top four on three occasions. The horse Dave rode was called "E.S.B" and would shouldn't really have won, but did so following a strange occurrence. "E.S.B" was in second place after that last fence chasing after the Queen Mother's well-fancied "Devon Loch" who for no reason at all seemed to try and jump a non-existent fence causing the horse to flop onto his belly as "E.S.B" ran on to win.

Dick Francis, who was the jockey riding "E.S.B" was left confused by the events and never managed to win a National in his future years but became quite a famous author. "Gentle Moya" finished second followed by 1954 winner "Royal Tan" ridden by Mr. Tom Taaffe with the pair in at 28-1. The fourth horse to finish the race was "Eagle Lodge" a 66-1 outside who stayed ahead of another five finishers from twenty-nine that raced.

The 1955 Grand National

Pat Taaffe who finished fourth in 1953 returned to win the Grand National in 1955 on "Quare Times" with the pair winning from 100-9. The jockey would win the Grand National for a second time fifteen years later on "Gay Trip" who would be trained by the famous Fred Rimell that year. Another Taaffe, Tom Taaffe would finish third on "Carey's Cottage" with "Tudor Line" sandwiched in between the two in second place for the second year in a row.

The 1954 Grand National

For only the first time since 1935 when twenty-seven horses ran the Grand National would the race again begin with under thirty starters as twenty-nine horses made up the field with several horses and jockeys that had faired very well in recent years in attendance. "Royal Tan" would go on to win the event ridden by Bryan Marshall who became a dual winner followed by "Tudor Line" and jockey Mr. G Slack in second.

"Irish Lizard" the 15-2 favourite from the twenty-nine would finish third ridden by Michael Schudamore with Tom Taaffe who would later train the 1958 winner "Mr What" finishing fourth on 10-1 horse "Churchtown".

The 1953 Grand National

The Irish-trained horse "Early Mist" won the 1953 Grand National and was in fact trained by non other than Vincent O'Brien who would go on to win three Nationals in a row with three different horses from 1953 to 1955. "Early Mist" would never again finish in the top four at a National but jockey Bryan Marshall and owner Joe Griffin would, as they were to return with "Royal Tan" the following year. "Early Mist" began the race at 20-1 and was one of only five horses to finish with "Mont Tremblant" ridden by Dave Dick finishing second followed by "Irish Lizard" and "Overshadow" in third and fourth place.

The 1952 Grand National

Jockey Arthur Thompson and trainer Neville Crump both became dual winners of the Grand National in 1952 when the pair won for the second time in the big race at Aintree, this time with "Teal". The race did however have to be re-started as the forty-seven runners charged the tape the first time around causing a twelve-minute delay before it began again. It's recorded that the winning jockey had quipped that "I thought I would be in the winner's enclosure by now!" something which he would end up in, albeit a little later than he would have thought.

Michael Schudamore who would later win the National in 1959 finished second on "Legal Joy" with "Wot No Sun" and jockey Dave Dick in third as Dave Dick would return several times to such a loft position winning the race four years later. The fourth horse to finish was "Uncle Barney" who began at 100-1 followed by six others that would complete the race.

The 1951 Grand National

The 1951 Grand National started with an error when Leslie Firth pressed the lever with half of the runners still milling about. The race was not recalled and the thirty-six jockeys who began the race desperately tried to get their mounts in the race. Many of the horses fell early mainly due to this with only five horses left at the end of the first circuit. The horse, which won was another mare "Nickel Coin" ridden by John Bullock with the pair having had odds of 40-1 followed by "Royal Tan" in second and "Derrinstown" who had to be remounted by jockey Mr. A Power finishing third and last as only three horses completed the course.

The 1950 Grand National

Two years on from his victory on "Sheila's Cottage" jockey Arthur Thompson rode "Wot No Sun" to second place behind 10-1 joint favourite "Freebooter" who in one of only eleven favourites to win the Grand National this century up to 2004. Forty-nice horses ran on the day, which was six more than the year before with seven of those finishing the race with "Acthon Major" at 33-1 in third and "Rowland Roy" who began at 40-1 in fourth.

The 1949 Grand National

The 1949 Grand National began with forty-three horses which was the exact same number to start a year earlier with only eleven of those finishing the time as "Russian Hero" ridden by Leo McMorrow who began at 66-1 edged out "Roimond" and jockey Mr. R Francis as that particular pair finished second with odds of 22-1. The two were followed by "Royal Mount" in third and "Cromwell" in fourth who was again being ridden by Lord Mildmay as the pair dropped a place from the previous year.

The 1948 Grand National

"Sheila's Cottage" became the first mare to win a Grand National in 1948 since "Shannon Lass" won back in 1902. "Sheila's Cottage" ridden by Arthur Thompson was unfancied prior to the race and began at 50-1, a price which was half that of the other mare in the race, "Zahia". Regardless of the odds "Zahia" did appear to have been a certain winner as the horse approached the second to last fence, but failed to do so as the jockey took the wrong course leaving "Sheila's Cottage" clear.

"First Of The Dandies" with jockey Mr. J Brogan finished second with "Cromwell" in third and "Happy Home" fourth as forty-three ran with fourteen of those completing the course. "Sheila's Cottage" was owned by John Proctor and trained by Neville Crump and unfortunately enough for jockey Arthur Thompson the horse bit his thumb off two days after the Grand National.

The 1947 Grand National

"Prince Regent" and Tim Hyde returned again to race in the 1940 Grand National with the pair installed as favourite yet again, but the tag of being favourite this year was less relevant than in years past as a massive field of fifty-seven horses ran which, was the second most ever to compete in the Grand National since it began.

The fifty-seven starters played a huge part in allowing the 100-1 Irish-trained outsider "Caughoo" to win as the congestion caused by so many runners made it difficult for the favourites to be as dominant. Eddie Dempsey was the winning jockey, as the pair became the first to win a National from 100-1 since "Gregalach" did so in 1929. "Lough Conn" finished in second followed by "Kami" in third with pre race favourite "Prince Regent" fourth.

The 1946 Grand National

On Saturday April 5th 1946 the Grand National returned for the first time since 1940 as the Second World War was finally over. Thirty-four horses competed with many racing for the first time in a National with horses such as 3-1 favourite "Prince Regent" and winner "Lovely Cottage" as two of the most notable. Tim Hyde who won the 1939 Grand National rode the favourite, but he would this time drop two places to third behind "Lovely Cottage" ridden by Robert Petre and runner up "Jack Finlay" a 100-1 outsider.

"Bogskar" returned six years after winning in 1940 this time ridden by Mr. R Matthews, since former jockey Mervyn Jones had lost his life in a spitfire in 1941. The horse named "MacMoffat" also returned again ridden by Mr. I Alder as six of the starters completed the course with many of the new faces falling at the early fences. "Housewarmer", "Schubert" both who began at 100-1 finished fourth and fifth with "Limestone Edward" the last horse to complete the course in sixth.

The 1941 to 1945 Grand National

There was no Grand National from 1941 to 1945 as Aintree was used as an American Base during the Second World War.

The 1940 Grand National

Seventeen horses would finish the 1940 Grand National, the last Grand National before the Second World War caused the Grand National to be cancelled until 1946 was watched by a large amount of fans dressed in uniform some seven months after the war had started.

"Bogstar" won the race ridden by jockey and Flight Sergeant in the RAF, Mervyn Jones who had been given permission from his Air Commodore to take part. The pair began at 25-1 only a short while after Mervyn had passed his navigation exam and then told to "Go and navigate "Bogstar" around Aintree then, and if you don't, we'll put you through another navigation exam!" He did just that before leaving for the war and unfortunately falling victim to the war at age 22. Aintree paid tribute to many of those lost to the war and even hung the stars and stripes of America from the flagstaff for 16,000 troops from the United States.

"MacMoffat" finished second again being ridden by jockey Mr. I Alder with the pair losing any hope of improving on their performance, as the horse would be considered too old to be a contender in 1946. "Gold Arrow" would finish third with "Symaethis" in fourth followed by another thirteen horses that would complete the race from the thirty, which began it.

The 1939 Grand National

"Workman" won the 1939 Grand National on the 24th of March one hundred years after in first moved to Aintree whilst ridden by Tim Hyde. "MacMoffat" followed in second as he would in 1940 as the horse battled hard coming close both times but could not manage to win a National. "Kilstar" ridden by Mr. G Archibald finished in third after starting the race as 8-1 favourite followed by "Cooleen" who along with jockey Mr. J Fawcus would finish in the top four for the last time.

The 1938 Grand National

1937 runner up "Cooleen" dropped two places to fourth after beginning the 1938 Grand National as favourite behind three horses that weren't expected to be in the running as "Battleship" won at Aintree ridden by Bruce Hobbs as the pair who had began at 40-1 held off the other thirty-five starters. "Royal Danieli" finished in second with odds of 18-1 followed by 28-1 horse "Workman" and jockey Mr. J Brogan.

Winning jockey Bruce Hobbs became the youngest jockey to win a Grand National riding winning horse "Battleship" who was American owned and bred. Reg Hobbs the father of Bruce trained the horse specifically for the Grand National.

The 1937 Grand National

"Royal Mail" won the 1937 Grand National ridden by Evan Williams for owner Hugh Lloyd Thomas. The horse was trained by Ivor Anthony who had previously trained "Kellsboro' Jack" when the horse won back in 1933. Mr. J Fawcus who had ridden "Bachelor Prince" to third in 1936 returned this time on "Cooleen" with the pair finishing in second and beginning a span of four races which would see the jockey never finishing lower than fourth but never winning a Grand National. "Pucka Belle" finished in third followed by "Ego" ridden by Mr. H Llewellyn for the second year in a row.

The 1936 Grand National

Thirty-five horses were led out on the 27th of March for the 1936 Grand National marking 100 years since the start of the event, although this may be unofficially 100 years since it began it may have been seen as somehow fitting that another horse "Reynoldstown" one century after "The Duke" who won the very first two Nationals would match the achievement winning the event two successive years. Owner and Trainer Noel Furlong was also winning the event for the second year in a row.

"Reynoldstown" returned this time with jockey Fulke Walwyn as the horses odds tightened up to 10-1 following on from the excellent performance a year earlier. The horse which, was one of ten to finish the race in 1936 was followed by a group whom all were outsiders as 50-1 "Ego" finished second with "Bachelor Prince" and "Crown Prince" in third and fourth with the pair both at 66-1.

1836 - 1860 1861 - 1885 1886 - 1910 1911 - 1935 1936- 1960 1961 - 1985 1986 - 2005

Grand National Books

The Grand National: Aintree's Official Illustrated History

The Grand National: Quiz Book

Red Rum

Kings For A Day: Aintree's Bravest Sons

Everyone Must Leave: The Day They Stopped The National

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More Grand National books covering famous horses, jockeys and trainers can be found on our book page by clicking here.

Recommended Grand National Websites

The Grand National Website   Grand National 2004 Website   Aintree Racecourse Website

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