The Grand National & Aintree 1946-1959

1959 - Oxo`s year


Leading Fancies 

 The 1958 hero, MR WHAT headed the market at 6-1 although he was without a win in four starts since his heroics the previous year. After a spin over hurdles in the autumn he had finished third and fourth in two of Irelands premier chases, the Thyestes and Leopardstown respectively. Next in the betting at 8-1 and making his Aintree debut was the Willie Stephenson trained OXO who was in good heart having won at Lingfield and Kempton this season. Another Aintree debutant SLIPPERY SERPENT was sent off at 9-1. Trained in Ireland he had won four consecutive races in the Winter, three small races at Naas and then the Thyestes before he had fallen in the Leopardstown Chase. The evergreen WYNDBURGH started at 10-1, second in 1957 and a distant third in 1958 he had won a valuable chase at Warwick beating 1956 National hero ESB (who, this year was being aimed at the slightly easier option of the Topham Trophy) and he was expected to put up another solid performance. Another debutant DONE UP (100-7) had won the Hurst Park National Trial although none of his seven rivals that day opposed him in the National. For many though, the class horse (or in this case mare) in the field was the 1957 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner KERSTIN. An attempt to repeat the feat this year ended in failure when, unsuited to the heavy going she unseated her rider. Without a win since her victory in an admittedly substandard Gold Cup  she had only gone down by a short head to Taxidermist in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup. Surprisingly friendless at 25-1it was clear that her heavy burden of twelve stone was putting potential supporters off as had been the case with the last Gold Cup winner to try the National, Mont Tremblant back in 1953.

 GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (sponsored by Irish Hospital Sweepstakes) 4 1/2 miles, £13,646 to the winner 

 13-2230U KERSTIN  9, 12-0C.Bewicke S.Hayhurst 
 221-0234  MR WHAT  9, 11-9 T J Taaffe - IRE T.Taaffe 
 31-42121  DONE UP  9, 11-3 H.Price F T Winter 
 5  /03F02  JOHN JACQUES  10, 11-0 N.Crump J.Haine 
 6-004112  OXO  8, 10-12W.Stephenson M.Scudamore 
 7-240312  WYNDBURGH  9, 10-12 J.Oliver T.Brookshaw 
 8 31111F  SLIPPERY SERPENT  8, 10-11 T W Dreaper - IRE P.Taaffe 
 9 4F0002  MAINSTOWN  9, 10-10 Wight M.Batchelor 
10  34F304  CANNOBIE LEE  8, 10-10 H.Nicholson D.Nicholson 
11 -131400  TIBERETTA  11, 10-9 E.Courage A.Oughton 
12 130-002  MR GAY  12, 10-9 P.Thrale D.Ancil 
13  F144F0  DONDROSA  7, 10-11 A F Taylor Mr C B Taylor 
14 -P4220P GLORIOUS TWELFTH  10, 10-7 R.Renton G.Slack 
15 P-424P0  GREEN DRILL  9, 10-6 C.Bewicke G.Milburn 
17  040301  IRISH COFFEE  9, 10-5 J A Hale - IRE C.Finnegan 
18 U-2F122  ETERNAL  8, 10-4 F.Palmer P.Major 
19 3-03F30  VIGOR  11, 10-5 R.Turnell W.Rees 
20 2F/3-002  PINTAIL  10, 10-4 J.Bissill B.Wilkinson 
21  2P1241  OSCAR WILDE  9, 10-4 W.Wightman R E Jenkins 
22 13-0F44  SUPRISE PACKET  10, 10-5 R.Richards G.Scott 
23 -FF0P11  VALIANT SPARK  10, 10-3 Champneys J.Lehane 
24 0-0111F  SOLTOWN  7, 10-3 T J Taaffe - IRE W.Brennan 
26  00F044  KILBALLYOWN  12, 10-2  - IRE E.McKenzie 
27 F0-4F02   RICHARDSTOWN  11, 10-1  - IRE F.Carroll 
28  44UF40  STOP LIST  10, 10-1 J.Bowness T.Shone 
29 3-41F11  TURMOIL  9, 10-1 Kilpatrick J.Hudson 
30  1143B2  NIC ATKINS  8, 10-1 P.Murphy - IRE F.Shortt 
31  110P02  SUN DAWN III  10, 10-0 T.Hudson J.Power 
32 4-4P201  BELSIZE II  10, 10-0 W G Boomell - IRE G.Rooney 
33  014034  EAGLE LODGE  10, 10-0 Feakes J A Bullock 
34 0U00-03  SOUTHERNTOWN  13, 10-0 Doherty P.Cowley 
35   00400F  ROYAL TOURNAMENT  9, 10-0 W.Wightman R.Morrow 
36 -0P4204  THE CROFTER  11, 10-0 W D Francis S.Mellor 
37  43B000  HENRY PURCELL  12, 10-0 E C Smith A C Keen 

S P : 6-1 Mr What, 8-1 OXO, 9-1 Slippery Serpent, 10-1 Wyndburgh, 100-7 Done Up, 20-1 Nic Atkins, Tiberetta & Turmoil, 22-1 Green Drill,  25-1 Kerstin & Soltown, 28-1 Belsize II, Mr Gay & Oscar Wilde, 33-1 Glorious Twelfth, Irish Coffee, John Jacques & Killballyown, 40-1 Mainstown & Valiant Spark, 45-1 Cannobie Lee & Eagle Lodge, 50-1 Eternal, 66-1 Dondrosa, Richardstown, Stop List & Vigor, 100-1 Henry Purcell, Pintail, Royal Tournament, Southerntown, Sundawn III, Surprise Packet & The Crofter.

Aintree debutants (16)

Belsize II, Dondrosa*, Done Up*, Eternal, Henry Purcell*, Kerstin*, Mainstown, Mr Gay*, Oscar Wilde, Oxo, Pintail*, Royal Tournament*, Slippery Serpent*, Soltown*, Sundawn III*, Vigor* 

Winners at Aintree (4)

John JacquesTopham Trophy (1956) 
Mr What Grand National (1958) 
Tiberetta Becher Chase (1957), Grand Sefton Chase (1958) 
Wyndburgh Grand Sefton Chase (1957) 


Saturday 21st March - Going : Good

First fence : NIC ATKINS (fell), STOP LIST (fell)

Second fence : SOUTHERNTOWN (fell)*

Fourth fence : OSCAR WILDE (fell)*

Bechers (6th)  : DONE UP (brought down), ETERNAL (fell), GLORIOUS TWELFTH (brought down), HENRY PURCELL (fell), MR GAY (brought down), SUNDAWN III (brought down), THE CROFTER (fell),  VALIANT SPARK (fell)

Eleventh fence : BELSIZE II (fell)

Twelfth fence : DONDROSA (refused)*

Thirteenth fence : SLIPPERY SERPENT (fell)

Fourteenth fence : RICHARDSTOWN (pulled up)*


Seventeenth fence : ROYAL TOURNAMENT (refused)

Bechers (22nd) : IRISH COFFEE (fell), KERSTIN (fell), KILBALLYOWN (brought down), MAINSTOWN (fell), SOLTOWN (fell), SURPRISE PACKET (fell)

Order at Canal Turn (24th) : (1) OXO, (2) WYNDBURGH, (3) TIBERETTA, (4) MR WHAT, (5) JOHN JACQUES, (6) CANNOBIE LEE (refused & unseated rider), (7) GREEN DRILL (refused & unseated rider), (8) EAGLE LODGE, (9) VIGOR (refused & unseated rider), (10) TURMOIL (refused), (11) PINTAIL (climbed over fence, came to a complete standstill and pulled up)

Twenty sixth fence : JOHN JACQUES (fell)

Twenty eighth fence : EAGLE LODGE (refused) 


1stOXO M.Scudamore 
2nd WYNDBURGH T.Brookshaw 
3rd MR WHAT T.Taaffe 
4th TIBERETTA A.Oughton 

Only four finished 

Time : 9 minutes 37.4/5 seconds.

Distances :  1 1/2-8-20

Owned by J E Bigg.

Trained by Willie Stephenson in Royston 

The winner

OXO never won again. Injury prevented an attempt to defend his crown in 1959-60 and he raced just two times that season (including finishing unplaced in the King George VI Chase at Kempton). He returned to Aintree in the autumn of 1960 for his comeback race, the Becher Chase and despite a dreadful mistake at the first fence he ran well and was just beaten into third place in a close finish. The rest of his 1960-61 season however was disappointing despite a couple of placed efforts at Lingfield and Leicester. He lined up in the 1961 National but was never a factor and he was pulled up before second Bechers. Two weeks later he suffered a similar fate in the Scottish Grand National at Bogside. He raced just one more time, at Huntingdon in October 1961 when he pulled up in a small race. It was clear the old spark had gone and he was retired. He spent his retirement  hunted by his owner.