The Grand National & Aintree 1946-1959

1952 - Teal`s year


Leading Fancies

The only positive that could come out of the previous years shenanigins was that "anything was possible" in the National and therefore it perhaps came as no surprise that there was a bumper entry and another big field for the 1952 renewal. Behind the scenes Mrs Topham was embroiled in a dispute with the BBC over broadcasting rights and ended up putting together her own commentary team for the great race. It was yet another PR disaster as the team she hastily cobbled together were hopelessly not up to the task although I suppose you couldn`t fault Mrs Topham for being innovative as one of the number was a woman. Inept they may have been but they were not helped by the weather. Come post time Aintree was enveloped in a mist and most of the action in the country could not be seen from the stands. Favourite for the great race was the 1950 hero FREEBOOTER who was in the form of his life following a slightly disappointing 1950-51 campaign. He had won his first four starts of the season culminating with a second victory in the Grand Sefton taking his tally of victories over the course to four. He started favorite for the Gold Cup but Cheltenham never seemed to suit him and he was an early faller. Next in the market was Aintree debutant TEAL who has beaten a good field of National hopefuls at Birmingham in mid-February.  LEGAL JOY had won the Grand International Chase at Sandown and beaten the very useful Galloway Brases at Newbury on his last start. There were two future National winners in the field, both were from Ireland and and both were in very good form, EARLY MIST had won the Leopardstown Chase whilst  ROYAL TAN who had blundered his chances away in 1951 at the last fence had won the National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival having been well beaten by his compatriot at Leopardstown. One other to look out for was BORDER LUCK who had wining form over the Aintree fences having won the Valentine Chase at the Autumn meeting. He had also won at Mancehster and Haydock in a busy season.

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE 4 1/2 miles, £9,268 to the winner 

To follow when I get a copy of the racecard 

S.P : 10-1 Freebooter, 100-7 TEAL, 100-6 Legal Joy, 18-1 Early Mist, 20-1 Border Luck, 22-1 Overshadow & Royal Tan, 25-1 Another Delight & Pearly Prince, 33-1 Cardinal Error, Icy Calm, Irish Lizard, Menzies, Roimond & Wot No Sun, 40-1 Brown Jack III, Kelek, Skyreholme & Whispering Steel, 45-1 Hals Venture, 50-1 Caesars Wife, Cloncarrig, Cream of the Border, Nagara, Royal Stuart, Russian Hero, Starlit Bay, St Kathleen II & Tantivy, 66-1 Dominicks Bar, Hierba, Inter Alia & Skouras, 100-1 Bronze Arrow, Column, Court Painter, Derrinstown, Golden Surprise, Nagara, Parsonshill, Possible, Printers Pie, Rocket VI, Sergeant Kelly, Tavoy, Traveller`s Pride, Uncle Barney &  Wolfschmidt 

Aintree debutants (17)
Brown Jack III, Cream of the Border, Court Painter*, Dominicks Bar, Early Mist, Golden Surprise*, Icy Calm, Inter Alia*, Kelek*, Menzies*, Nagara*, Overshadow, Printers Pie*, Skyreholme*, Starlit Bay, St Kathleen II*, Tavoy* 
Winners at Aintree
Border LuckValentine Chase (1951) 
CloncarrigMolyneux Chase (1947 & 1949), Becher Chase (1950) 
Freebooter Champion Chase (1949), Grand National Chase (1950) 
 Grand Sefton Chase (1949 & 1951) 
Irish Lizard Molyneux Chase (1948) 
Possible Molyneux Chase (1950) 
Royal Stuart Molyneux Chase (1951) 
Russian Hero Grand National (1949) 
 Saturday  25th March - Going : Good
I don`t have the racecard so have not attempted to work out orders at half-way but this is what I have so far
This year there was a false start causing a delay of ten minutes - nothing unusual in that you might think as it is almost an annual event now but in 1952 this was almost unheard of. TRAVELLERS PRIDE was the culprit who broke the tape.
First fence : EARLY MIST (fell), GOLDEN SURPRISE (fell), HAL`S VENTURE (fell), ROCKET V (fell), RUSSIAN HERO (fell) ST KATHLEEN II (fell), DOMINICKS BAR (Brought down), CARDINAL ERROR (brought down), IRISH LIZARD (brought down), COURT PAINTER (refused & unseated rider)
Third fence : CREAM OF THE BORDER (refused & unseated rider)*, INTER ALIA (fell)*, CAESARS WIFE (unseated rider), WHISPERING STEEL (unseated rider)  - the form book states that SERGEANT KELLY also fell here and was remounted to finish - I cannot verify this.
Fourth fence : CLONCARRIG (fell)*, NAGARA (fell)* 
Fifth fence : BROWN JACK III (fell)
Bechers (6th) : SKOURAS (fell)
Seventh fence : There were several fallers here and in the head on shot  at the Canal Turn you can see several jockeys getting to their feet - neither Movietone or Pathe covered the fallers so I have to go by the form book PEARLY PRINCE (fell), SKYREHOLME (fell), TANTIVY (fell), WOLFSCHMIDT (fell) , KELEK (refused)
Canal Turn (8th) : POSSIBLE (unseated rider)
Valentines (9th) : ANOTHER DELIGHT (fell)
Thirteenth fence : STARLIT BAY (fell)
Seventeenth fence : ROIMOND (fell), MENZIES (unseated rider)
Twenty first fence : BORDER LUCK (unseated rider), DERRINSTOWN (pulled up), TAVOY (pulled up)
Bechers (22nd) : TRAVELLERS PRIDE (fell)
Canal Turn (24th) : FREEBOOTER (fell), ROYAL STUART (refused), ICY CALM (pulled up)*
30th fence : ROYAL TAN (fell) 
1st TEAL Arthur Thompson 
2nd LEGAL JOY MIchael Scudamore 
3rd WOT NO SUN Dave Dick 
5th OVERSHADOW E.Newman 
6th PRINTERS PIE George Slack 
7th HIERBA A.Mullins 
8th COLUMN Peter Pickford 
10th SERGEANT KELLY (rem) R.Cross 
Time : 9 minutes 21 1/2 secs
Distances : 5-dist-10-6-12
Owned by Mr H Lane
Trained by Neville Crump in Middleham, Yorkshire 
The winner
Teal was put away for the season and was ante-post favourite for the following years race. Tragically however, he never made it to Aintree. He did not see a racecourse again until February when he finished second in the Great Yorkshire Chase. His next start was in the Cheltenham Gold Cup where after leading in the early part of the race he landed awkwardly over the water jump and ruptured his gut. Although he bravely managed to complete the course it became clear he had injured himself quite badly and despite the best efforts of his trainer he could not be saved.