The Grand National & Aintree 1946-1959

1946 - Lovely Cottages` year


Leading Fancies 

Aintree racecourse had been used as a truck depot during the second world war and also housed up to sixteen thousand troops. For six long years there was no racing and worse no Grand National. The last troops had finally left in February and the racecourse was returned to Mrs Topham. That she managed to get the racecourse ready for the first weekend in April was nothing short of a miracle and in my view this was her greatest achievement. The racing starved crowds flocked to Aintree in their thousands. Some say that more than three hundred thousand packed themselves into Aintree that spring Friday. Thirty six runners lined up with all eyes on the legendary Irish chaser PRINCE REGENT. With jumps racing  in England suspended during the war the "Prince" had been a dominating force in his native Ireland winning the 1942 Irish Grand National and had then finished second in the next two runnings under oppressive top weights. This season he had finally won a major steeplechase in the UK by lifting the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A worthy favourite  he would be burdened with an almost impossible weight of  twelve stone five. Other fancied runners included LIMESTONE EDWARD , a twelve year old in scintillating form with five wins wins at Catterick, Wetherby (twice) and Southwell (twice). Irish raider DUNSHAUGHLIN had won three times including the valuable National Hunt handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. SCHUBERT had finished fifth in that race and earlier won a three runner race at Cheltenham at ludicrous odds of 10-1 ON. KNIGHTS CREST had beaten Prince Regent in the 1944 Irish Grand National (albeit with a huge weight advantage). Now trained in the north of England he had had a relatively light campaign since moving at the beginning of the year with a win to show his well being at Wetherby on his last start.  This year we had not just one, but two Gold Cup winners with the 1945 hero RED ROWER in the field.  After winning at Windsor he had by-passed the Gold Cup for the National Hunt Handicap Chase but ran disappointingly. Those were the leaders in the market but spare a thought for one of the 100-1 outsiders, a ten year old having his tenth race of the season. ELSICH boasted possibly the worst record of any National runner before or since. He was so bad he once fell in two separate races on the same card at Cheltenham. He had only managed to qualify for the National by finishing third in a three mile chase at Worcester (the placing flatters him - he was four fences behind the second !). He had only ever completed the course three times in his career (one time he was remounted) yet bizarrely he had run in two Gold Cups !!!! His form figures read FFProF-FU030FFF. Bill Balfe was the brave man on board in what was to be his only National ride. How did they get on in the National ? They fell at the first.

NB. Elsich and his brave riders story are one of many told in the wonderful book "GO DOWN TO THE BEATEN"  by Chris Pitt (Racing Post) 

GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE, 4 1/2 miles, £8,805 to the winner

 1      -131  PRINCE REGENT  11, 12-5  - IRET.Hyde 
 2         -F   SYMBOLE  a, 11-11 V.Smyth W.Redmond 
 3   -2210  RED ROWER  12, 11-7 Lord Stalbridge G.Kelly 
 4      -1F0  SCHUBERT  12, 11-0 Beechener C.Beechener 
 5     -2FIF  LARGO  7, 10-13 Storie J.Cooke 
 6          -0  HEIRDOM  14, 10-10  - IRE P.Cahalin 
 7           -0  BOGSKAR  13, 10-9 Lord StalbridgeR.Matthews 
 8             -  KAMI  9, 10-9 W.Payne H.Bonneau 
 9      -433  MACMOFFAT  14, 10-8 Scott Brigg I.Alder 
11 -F20103  LOVELY COTTAGE  9, 10-8 T.Rayson Capt R.Petre 
12      -1311  ASTROMETER  8, 10-3  - IRE M.Gordon 
13 -003041  KNIGHT`S CREST  9, 10-3 Murless P.Murphy 
14  112001  SUZERAIN II  8, 10-3 W.Payne G.Archibald 
16      -1123  HOUSEWARMER  9, 10-2   - IREA.Brabazon 
17 -111011  LIMESTONE EDWARD  12, 10-2Nicholson D.Doyle 
18    -121F0  EP  11, 10-2 Larkin M.Molony 
19     -22F0  JACK FINLAY  7, 10-2 Elwell W.Kidney 
20     -1210  VAIN KNIGHT  13, 10-2 Wight R.Curran 
21     -1211  NEWARK HILL  12, 10-1 Kilpatrick P.Lay 
22     -1112  SILVER FAME  7, 10-0 Beeby D.Ruttle 
23     -0F34  HISTORICAL REVUE  8, 10-0  - IRE S.Ryan 
24    -13231 TULYRA  10, 10-0 Powell Mr D A Jackson 
25  310011  DUNSHAUGHLIN  8, 10-0  - IRE R J O`Ryan 
26   -32F2F  DOUBLE FLUSH  10, 10-0 Newton E.Newman 
28     -P030  YUNG-YAT  10, 10-0  - IRE T.Cullen Jnr 
29      -2213  KING GESSON  10, 10-0 Kilpatrick R.Burford 
30  10F212  LOUGH CONN  10, 10-0  - IRE D.McCann 
31   -3U214 JOCK  8, 10-2 G.Wilson F.Gurney 
32   -FF344  MUSICAL LAD  9, 10-0 Newton M.Browne 
33          -11  BRICETT  9, 10-2 W.Hall J.Brogan 
34  12F412  GYPPO  12, 10-0 R.Renton Mr J.Cousins 
38  02FP01  ALACRITY  13, 10-0 C.Birch G.Bowden 
39  310032  CLOSURE  9, 10-0 J D Norris Mr H.Applin 
40  030FFF  ELSICH  10, 10-0 Edwards W.Balfe 

ALSO DECLARED IN RACECARD but did not line up : 10 ROMAN HACKLE (D L Moore), 15 KEEP FAITH (-), 27 HOME LOVER (D.Buchers), 35 COLONEL BLIMP (-), 36 BLACK HAWK (Mr P Turner), 37 TROYMINT (M J Prendergast) 

S.P : 3-1 Prince Regent, 13-2 Limestone Edward, 12-1 Dunshaughlin, 100-7 Schubert, 22-1 Red Rower, Knight Crest, 25-1 LOVELY COTTAGE, 28-1 Bricett, 33-1 Kami, Lough Conn, Suzerain II, Symbole, 40-1 Gyppo, Silver Fame, 50-1 Astrometer, E P, Jock, MacMoffat, Newark Hill, 66-1 Bogskar, Heirdom, Historical Revue, Largo, 100-1 Alacrity, Closure, Double Flush, Elsich , Housewarmer, Jack Finlay, King Gesson, Tulyra, Vain Knight & Yung-Yat  

Aintree debutants/Winner at Aintree

It was perhaps not surprising bearing in mind the National was the fist jumping action seen at Aintree for six long years that the majority of the field were making their debut over the National fences. However the first two from the 1940 National, BOGSKAR and MACMOFFAT lined up but at thirteen and fourteen respectively their chances seemed remote.


Sources: Sporting Chronicle/Pathe/Movietone/Daily Express Archive -

asterisk states not covered by the newsreel footage  

Friday 5th April 1946 - Going : Good 

First fence : ASTROMETER (fell)*, ELSICH (fell), YUNG-YAT (fell)* 

Third fence : CLOSURE (unseated rider), HISTORICAL REVIEW (fell)*, JOCK (fell)

Bechers (6th) : SYMBOLE (fell), ALACRITY (hampered & unseated rider)

Canal Turn : (twenty six still standing), RED ROWER (pulled up)* 

Tenth fence : HEIRDOM (fell)* 

Twelfth fence : DUNSHAUGHLIN (fell)

Thirteenth fence : KAMI (fell)* 

The Chair : BOGSKAR (unseated rider) 

Order at half way : (1) LOUGH CONN, (2) PRINCE REGENT, (3) HOUSEWARMER, (4) SILVER FAME, (5) LIMESTONE EDWARD, (6) TULYRA, (7) SCHUBERT, (8) MACMOFFAT, (9) JACK FINLAY, (10) BRICETT, (11) NEWARK HILL, (12) LOVELY COTTAGE (twenty one still standing)

Nineteenth fence : LOUGH CONN (fell when leading), SILVER FAME (hampered & unseated rider), KING GESSON (refused & unseated rider), VAIN KNIGHT (fell), KNIGHTS CREST (refused) (sixteen still standing)

Second Bechers : LARGO (fell), NEWARK HILL (fell), TULYRA (fell)

Twenty third fence : BRICETT (fell)*, MACMOFFAT (fell)

Ten standing at second Canal

EP someway last at the Canal pulls up around here*

Twenty seventh fence : SUZERAIN II (fell)*

Not known : GYPPO, DOUBLE FLUSH & MUSICAL LAD (both in same ownership) 


1st LOVELY COTTAGE Capt R.Petre 
2nd JACK FINLAY W.Kidney 
4thHOUSEWARMER A.Brabazon 
5th SCHUBERT C.Beechener 

Time : 9 mins 38 1/5 secs                                                                                                                      Distances : 4-3-8-1 1/2                                                                                                                            Owned by John Morant                                                                                                                          Trained by  Tommy Rayson at Headbourne Worthy, Hampshire

  The winner

Lovely Cottage was lightly raced after his Aintree triumph. He was a last minute withdrawal from the 1947 race due to injury and in 1948 he fell on the first circuit but was remounted to complete the course in his own time. He raced once more at Cheltenham  a month later.