The Grand National & Aintree 1946-1959

The Autumn Meeting

Until 1965 Aintree staged a mixed meeting in the Autumn (the first weekend in November) which saw National prospects get some additional experience over the unique National fences. Initially run over four days, the meeting was reduced to three in 1953. Like the National meeting the majority of the races were over the flat with a couple of hurdle events thrown in for good measure. 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 races over the National fences provided some great races and 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. Here is some useless facts about the four "lost" steeplechases of the Autumn meeting.

The Becher Chase

Run over two and a half miles 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 which 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 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. In 1951 the first four in the Becher Chase all ran in the National - they all fell. 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 winners in that seasons National

1947 PRINCE REGENT carried out 
1949 ROYAL MOUNTfell 
1950 CLONCARRIG fell 
1952LARRY FINN brought down 
1954MR LINNETT pulled up 
1957TIBERETTA 2nd 

 Number of Becher Chase runners in that seasons National

1947 (2), 1948 (1), 1949 (3), 1950 (4), 1951 (4), 9152 (3), 1954 (nil), 1955 (1), 1956 (2), 1957 (2), 1958 (nil) 

Becher Chase role of honour

1946RED BRANCH Ireland T.Hyde 11 
1947KEEP 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 

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 with several multiple winners and whilst no-one from its role of honour won a National Topham winner Stormhead won this race twice.

Molyneux Chase winners in that seasons National

1946HOUSEWARMER 6th 
1947CLONCARRIG Fell 
1949 CLONCARRIG Fell 
1951 ROYAL STUART Refused 
1952 LITTLE YID Refused 
1954LITTLE YID Pulled up 

 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) 

Molyneux Chase role of honour

1946HOUSEWARMER 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 
1953LITTLE 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 

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.

Valentine Chase winners in that seasons National

1946MARTIN M Pulled up 
1948 ULSTER MONARCH Fell 
1949ACTHON  MAJOR 3rd 
1950PRINCE 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) 

Valentine Chase role of honour

1946MARTIN 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

UNCLE BARNEY (dead-heat) 

 J.Paisley

H.Clarkson 

L.McMorrow

J.Boddy 

11

The Grand Sefton Chase

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 and only one Freebooter managed to win both races in the same season (during its history only five horses managed to win both races in the same season). 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, only second placed  Irish Lizard completed the course

Grand Sefton winners in that seasons National

1949 FREEBOOTER won 
1950 SHAGREEN Fell 
1951 FREEBOOTER Fell 
1953 CONEYBURROW Fell 
1955 GENTLE MOYA 2nd 
1957 WYNDBURGH 4th 
1959 TIBERETTA 4th 

 Number of Grand Sefton runners in that years National

1946 (5), 1947 (3), 1948 5), 1949 (3), 1950 (5), 1951 (2), 1952 (1), 1953 (5), 1954 (no race), 1955 (2), 1956 (5), 1957 (6), 1958 (4) 

Grand Sefton role of honour 

1946WAR 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 
1951FREEBOOTER R.Renton J.Power  9 
1952WOT NO SUN N.Crump T.Molony  6
1953 CONEYBURROW J.Osborne (IRE) P.Taaffe  9 
1954 Abandonned waterlogged course   
1955 GENTLE MOYAC.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 

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