The Grand National & Aintree 1946-1959

1956 - ESB`s year

Leading Fancies 
Favourite was an Aintree debutant MUST who started at 7-1. He was a fine jumper and stayed forever as he had shown when beating a competitive field over four miles at Cheltenham over the Christmas period. He had not been seen out since finishing fourth in the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown. SUNDEW started next best at 8-1. He had been beaten by ESB at Manchester but had won the Hurst Park Grand National Trial where he had had last years hero Quare Times (missing this year through injury) behind him. CAREY`s COTTAGE had not managed to win all season but he had finished third in a Munster National and second in a Kerry National and was running for new connections. Following a spell over hurdles 100-7 shot ESB had won at Birmingham and Haydock before beating Sundew at Manchester. The most popular winner would be the Queen Mother`s DEVON LOCH. One of two horses in the field carrying the royal colours he had won at Lingfield and Sandown in the autumn before finishing fifth in the King George. Thereafer he had been third in the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown (finishing a place ahead of Must) and  finished third in the National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Festival. He had an excellent chance in what was a smaller than usual field. Of the others previous winners EARLY MIST and ROYAL TAN were lining up again and special mention should be made of  POLONIUS who was incredibly having his eighteenth race of the season.
GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE, 4 1/2 miles  £8,695 5s to the winner
14000-03  EARLY MIST  11, 12-2 M V O`Brien - IRE B.Marshall 
2F00-010  ROYAL TAN  12, 12-1 M V O`Brien - IRE T.Taaffe 
 13F110  MARINER`S LOG  9, 11-11 G.Beeby R.Emery 
-411033  DEVON LOCH  10, 11-4 P.Cazalet R.Francis 
 6 F2-F112  SUNDEW  10, 11-4 F.Hudson F T Winter 
 7 121311  ESB  10, 11-3 T F Rimell D V Dick 
 84-12F23  HIGH GUARD  9, 11-1 N.Crump A P Thompson 
 9 01F004  MUCH OBLIGED  8, 11-0 N.Crump M.Scudamore 
1000-1322  DUNBOY II  12, 11-0 J S Wight Mr R Brewis 
11 3-2342F  CAREY`S COTTAGE  9, 10-13 G.Balding R.Turnell 
12 1F-4202  ARMORIAL III  7, 10-10 F T Walwyn J.Dowdeswell 
13 122-043  MERRY WINDSOR  8, 10-10 D.Doyle L.McMorrow 
14 2F-F214  MUST  8, 10-10 A S Kilpatrick R.Morrow 
15 0-31112  KEY ROYAL  8, 10-8W.Stephenson T.Molony 
16  143231  M`AS-TU-VU  10, 10-6 P.Cazalet A.Freeman 
17 F020-00  REVEREND PRINCE  10, 10-5 P.Dufosee Mr C Pocock 
18      R/R-2  WITTY  11, 10-4 W.Hall P A Farrell 
19      /0440  DOMATA  10, 10-4 F.Cundell D.Ancil 
20  230200  POLONIUS  10, 10-3 G.Burnham E F Kelly
21  11F140  ATHENIAN  7, 10-3 G.Balding R J Hamey 
22 0-31430  GENTLE MOYA  10, 10-2 C.Bewicke G.Milburn 
23 F0F-002  NO RESPONSE  10, 10-1 J.Osborne - IRE C.Finnegan 
24 30-10FU CLEARING  9, 10-1 W.Stephenson J A Bullock 
25  141042  EAGLE LODGE  7, 10-0 M.Feakes A.Oughton 
26  F02033  ONTRAY  8, 10-0 L S Briggs R.Curran 
28 20-0004  WILD WISDOM  11, 10-0 J.Ford Mr L Bridge 
29 -033400  BORDER LUCK  11, 10-0 J R Bower M O`Dwyer 
30  021311  PIPPYKIN  8, 10-0 S.Parker J.Power 
31 -020421  MARTINIQUE  10, 10-0 G R Owen S.Mellor 
Non Runners : 3 QUARE TIMES (P.Taaffe), 27 VICTORY MORN (J.Cuddihy), 32 VENETIAN LAW, 33 SUN CLASP (K.Maudsley)
S.P : 7-1 Must, 8-1 Sundew, 10-1 Carey`s Cottage, 100-7 Devon Loch, ESB & Pippykin, 100-6 Ontray, 20-1 Armorial III, 22-1 Gentle Moya, High Guard & Mariner`s Log, 25-1 Early Mist, 28-1 Key Royal, Merry Windsor & Royal Tan, 40-1 Martinique, M`as-tu-Vu & Reverend Prince, 50-1 Much Obliged & No Response, 66-1 Athenian, Border Luck, Clearing, Domata, Dunboy II, Merry Windsor, Polonius, Wild Wisdom & Witty
Aintree debutants (10)
Armorial III, Athenian, Devon Loch*, Domata, Dunboy II*, Merry Windsor*, Much Obliged, Must, Polonius*, Reverend Prnce*
Winners at Aintree
Border Luck Valentine Chase (1951) 
Early Mist Grand National (1953) 
Gentle Moya Grand Sefton Chase (1955) 
Royal Tan Grand National (1954) 
Uncle Barney Valentine Chase (1952) 
Saturday 24th March - Going : Good
First fence : EARLY MIST (fell), HIGH GUARD (fell), MUST (fell), REVEREND PRINCE (fell)
Third fence : NO RESPONSE (unseated rider)
Fourth fence : MARINER`S LOG (fell)
Eleventh fence : MERRY WINDSOR (fell)
Twelfth fence : ATHENIAN (fell)
BORDER LUCK disappears before the end of the first circuit - Chaseform has him as refused at the 18th but he is second last at the twelfth and I cannot see him from the Movietone footage of the horses going out onto the second circuit.
Eighteenth fence : M`AS-TU-VU (fell)
The fate of DUNBOY II & POLONIUS is unknown - they have both dropped out by the twentieth fence when there were sixteen survivors
Nineteenth fence : DOMATA (fell)
The fate of WITTY is unknown the form book has him as a faller at the nineteenth but he is still standing after the twentieth albeit a distant last of the sixteen still on their feet
Bechers (22nd) : SUNDEW (fell), PIPPYKIN (refused & unseated rider)
Twenty sixth fence : ARMORIAL III (fell - he had made all of the running up to this point), MUCH OBLIGED (fell)
Twenty ninth fence : ONTRAY (unseated rider)
And of course we all know that DEVON LOCH  slipped up on the flat within yards of the winning post when victory was looked assured. 
1st ESB D V Dick 
2nd GENTLE MOYA G.MIlburn 
3rdROYAL TAN T.Taaffe 
4th EAGLE LODGE A.Oughton 
5th KEY ROYAL T.Molony 
6th MARTINIQUE S.Mellor 
7th CAREY`S COTTAGE R.Turnell 
8th CLEARING J A Bullock 
9th WILD WISDOM Mr L Bridge 
Time : 9 minutes 21 2/5 seconds.

Distances : 10-10-1/2-15-20

Owned by Mrs LCarver

Trained by Fred Rimell at Kinnersley, Worcestershire

The winner

ESB was as tough as they came. After his exertions at Aintree he reappeared in May at Hurst Park finishing second in the valuable Queen Elizabeth Chase. The following year he won the Great Yorkshire Chase for a second year, finished unplaced in the Gold Cup and finished eighth behind Sundew in the National. In 1957-58 he finished sixth in what was his last appearance in the National having won over the Mildmay fences at the Yuletide meeting on the way. He may have run in his last National but he he was not finished with Aintree. He won a Lancashire Chase at Manchester, a Grand Sefton Trial at Hurst Park and finished  second and third in the 1959 and 1960 Tophams. This remarkable animal ran for the final time at Aintree aged fourteen in November 1960 in what was his last race when leading at the last he eventually finished third in the Grand Sefton. A truly wonderful servant to his connections he enjoyed a long and happy retirement at his owners estate in Warwickshire. He died in 1976.