The Grand National & Aintree 1946-1959

1953 - Early Mist`s year

Following the public relations disaster of the previous year, normal service was resumed and the BBC returned to Aintree to broadcast the Grand National. Whilst the British public could look forward to a decent commentary this year they were still denied the mouthwatering prospect of live pictures. Televising the National was still not on the negotiating table as far as Mrs Topham was concerned. More on her mind this year was her latest ambitious plans for the racecourse. Racegoers attending the 1953 National got a first glimpse in the racecard of the plans for a motor racing circuit to be constructed on the inside of the National course. Not the best kept secret, the plans had been leaked in a motor magazine the previous autumn. If any die hard race fans were concerned about the prospect of formula one cars screaching around the hallowed Aintree turf their concerns remained unanswered although Mrs Topham did seek to reassure patrons that there would be no racing on a Sunday !

Ante-post favourite for the National, the defending champion Teal sadly was absent having succumbed to serious injuries  picked up in the previous months Cheltenham Gold Cup.  With no previous winner in the field the betting public made a National debutant (albeit one with winning form over the fences), the politically incorrectly named LITTLE YID favourite. He had won the Molyneux Chase and Topham Trophy and this year having won two small races at Doncaster had finished third in the Great Yorkshire Chase. Last time out had finished second in the Mildmay of Flete at the Festival.  WHISPERING STEEL, who had departed spectacularly twelve months ago was next best at 9-1 a winner at Cheltenham and Worcester early in the season he had beaten last years runner up Legal Joy and rival Headcrest in the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown. Leading Irish challenger was the Vincent O`Brien trained LUCKY DOME who had finished second in the Galway Plate and then won his last three starts including the prestigious Leopardstown Chase. GLEN FIRE was popular at 10-1 which was something of a surprise as he had not seemed to have enjoyed his previous two runs in the National. He had won at Birmingham and finished second in the Kim Muir and was clearly expected to fare much better as was CARDINAL ERROR, an early faller last year who was in good form this season having won twice in the Autumn at Hexham and Kelso. He had subsequently been running consistently faring much better over the Aintree fences when finishing second in the Molyneux Chase at the Autumn meeting.  The class horse in the race was the Fulke Walwyn trained MONT TREMBLANT who had won seven of his last eleven starts. He was the best chaser of 1951-52 winning five out of six chases including the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Whilst not so prolific this year he had still finished second in the King George VI Chase at Kempton before finishing fourth in the Gold Cup. He had won twice at Sandown (finishing ahead of Little Yid) and it was something of a surprise to see him start at 18-1. A combination of the fact that he was making his debut of over the unique fences and was being asked to carry a massive weight of 12 stone 5 were clearly putting people off. Staring at 20-1 was Vincent O`Briens second string, EARLY MIST. He was was considered to be inferior to his stable companion Royal Tan who was absent through injury . He had been a first fence faller in 1952 and not showed too much form this season (apart from winning a race at Naas in March which he subsequently lost in the stewards room). He had been sold following the death of his owner J V Rank and was now running in the colours of Joe O`Connell who had also bought Royal Tan. Two other interesting runners were IRISH LIZARD being offered at a ridiculous price of 33-1 considering he had just won the Topham Trophy three days earlier and BAIRE who was having his sixteenth race of a very busy season.

Note : All four winners of the steeplechases at the Autumn meeting ran in the National this year.

THE GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE 4 1/2 miles, £9,255.10s to the winner

 11-12124  MONT TREMBLANT  7, 12-5F T Walwyn D V Dick 
 5 -112224  CARDINAL ERROR  9, 11-5 J.Wright R.Curran 
 6  3F23PF  CLONCARRIG  13, 11-5 F T Walwyn Mr R.McCreery 
 7 01F-00D  EARLY MIST  8, 11-2  M V O`Brien - IRE B.Marshall 
10  12B212  WHISPERING STEEL  8, 10-13 A.Kilpatrick R.Morrow 
11 -023044  LAND FORT  9, 10-12 T F Rimell Mr H.Oliver Jnr 
12 -0F0FF0  SENLAC HILL  8, 10-10 G.Beeby R.Francis 
13  140032  QUITE NATURALLY  9, 10-8 W T O`Grady - IRE T.Molony 
14  400124  GLEN FIRE  10, 10-8 S.Mercer M.Lynn 
15  123121  KNUCKLEDUSTER  9, 10-8 P.Payne-Gallwey Mr P B Browne 
16 401414  WITTY  8, 10-5W.Hall G.Slack
17-0U2233  PARASOL II  8, 10-8 A.Walton Mr A Oughton 
18  400431  OVERSHADOW  13, 10-3 C.Magnier - IRE P.Taaffe 
19  3F0013  ORDNANCE  7, 10-3 T F Rimell M.Scudamore 
20  012000  LARRY FINN  9, 10-2 N.Crump A P Thompson 
21  011432  LITTLE YID  11, 10-1 R.Renton J.Power 
22  123301  IRISH LIZARD  10, 10-1 H.Nicholson R.Turnell 
27  121430  WAIT AND SEE  8, 10-1 G.Archibald A.Freeman 
28  F04404  ARMOURED KNIGHT  9, 10-1 G.Wilson T.Mabbutt 
29  030030  PEARLY PRINCE  10, 10-0 E.Wright R E Jenkins 
30  433223  BAIRE  7, 10-0 J B Powell J.Foster 
31  210033  CREAM OF THE BORDER  8, 10-0 A.Paton B.Wilkinson 
32  12U340  HEAD CREST  7, 10-0 G.Wilson S.Barnes 
33  020111  LUCKY DOME  7, 10-0 M V O`Brien - IRE P J Doyle 
34  210303  UNCLE BARNEY  10, 10-0 H.Clarkson J.Boddy 
36  403302  GRAND TRUCE  9, 10-0 G R Owen D.Leslie 
37 030404  STEEL LOCK  9, 10-0E.Maggs Mr E Maggs 
38  /10-300  DESIRE  12, 10-0 McMullen T.Cullen 
39  34010U  HIERBA  8, 10-0 T.Hanbury A.Mullins 
42 -33210P  HAPPY DAYS  13, 10-0 
E.Gifford A.Benson 
43 200022  PUNCHESTOWN STAR  9, 10-0 J.Lea S.McComb

The following horses were featured in racecard but were withdrawn after four day declaration stage : -

2 STORMHEAD, 3 WOT NO SUN, 4 SHOCK TACTICS, 8 CUSHENDEN (P.Chisman), 9 SOLO II, 23 JUST JOE (J.Connolly), 24 BROWN JACK III (R.Emery), 25 ROMAN FIRE (E.Reavey), 26 DOG WATCH (T.Brookshaw), 35 OLD KENTUCKY, 40 CAESARS WIFE (Mr G B Rogers), 41 PARSONSHILL (J.Seely) 

S.P : 7-1 Little Yid, 9-1 Whispering Steel, 10-1 Glen Fire, Lucky Dome, 100-7 Cardinal Error, 18-1 Mont Tremblant, Quite Naturally, 20-1 EARLY MIST, 22-1 Witty, 25-1Parosol II, Knuckleduster, Ordnance, 33-1 Irish Lizard, Overshadow, 40-1 Larry Finn, Uncle Barney, Baire, Headcrest, 50-1 Wait and See, Hierba, Land Fort , 66-1Cloncarrig, Senlac Hill, Armoured Knight, Pearly Prince, Cream of the Border, Steel Lock, Desire, Happy Days, Punchestown Star

Aintree debutants  (10)

Grand Truce*, Happy Days*, Lucky Dome*, Mont Tremblant*, Ordnance, Parosol II*, Quite Naturally*, Senlac Hill*, Wait and See*, Witty 

Winners at Aintree  (6)

Cloncarrig Molyneux Chase (1947 & 1949), Becher Chase (1950) 
Irish Lizard Molyneux Chase (1948), Topham Trophy (1953) 
Larry Finn Becher Chase (1952) 
Little Yid  Molyneux Chase (1952) 
Uncle Barney Valentine Chase (1952) 
Wot No Sun Grand Sefton Chase (1952) 


 Saturday 28th March - Going : Good

Sources : Pathe/Movietone Newsreel/Sporting Chronicle

* denotes not captured on Newsreel 

First Fence : GRAND TRUCE (fell), QUITE NATURALLY (fell)

Second fence : HAPPY DAYS (fell)

Third fence : WAIT AND SEE (fell), HEAD CREST (hampered & unseated rider)

Fourth fence : BAIRE (fell), CARDINAL ERROR (fell), STEEL LOCK (fell & remounted - not sure what happened - form book suggests two more refusals at Valentines and finally at the eleventh)

Bechers (6th) : LAND FORT (unseated rider)

Order at first Canal Turn (8th) : (1) ORDNANCE, (2) PARASOL II (fell), (3) LITTLE YID, (4) MONT TREMBLANT, (5) WHISPERING STEEL (hampered & unseated rider), (6) KNUCKLEDUSTER, (7) HIERBA (fell), (8) GLEN FIRE, (9) ARMOURED KNIGHT, (10) LARRY FINN, (11) EARLY MIST, (12) WITTY, (13) SENLAC HILL, (14) OVERSHADOW, (15) CLONCARRIG, (16) IRISH LIZARD, (17) PEARLY PRINCE, (18) UNCLE BARNEY, (19) CREAM OF THE BORDER, (20) PUNCHESTOWN STAR, (21) DESIRE (refused)*, LUCKY DOME (pulled up)

Tenth fence : PUNCHESTOWN STAR (refused)* (most sources say refused 11th but having checked the newsreel footage there is no sign of him)

Eleventh fence : GLEN FIRE (refused), LARRY FINN (hampered, refused & unseated rider), CREAM OF THE BORDER (refused & unseated rider)


Nineteenth fence : KNUCKLEDUSTER (pulled up)*

Twentieth fence : ARMOURED KNIGHT (fell), ORDNANCE (fell- had made all the running until this point

Bechers (22nd) : UNCLE BARNEY (unseated rider), WITTY (unseated rider)

Order at the Canal Turn (24th)  : (1) EARLY MIST, (2) MONT TREMBLANT, (3) LITTLE YID (the rest miles behind) PEARLY PRINCE (unseated rider)*

Twenty seventh fence : LITTLE YID (refused) 

Twenty eighth fence : CLONCARRIG (fell) 


1st EARLY MIST B.Marshall 
3rdIRISH LIZARD R.Turnell 

Only five finished 

Time : 9 minutes 22 4/5 seconds

Distances : 20-4-20-dist

Owned by Joe Griffin

Trained by Vincent O`Brien in Ireland