The brainchild of Lord Mildmay the course that would ultimately bear his name was originally designed as a "nursery" course for future Grand National runners with scaled down versions of the National fences for the runners to negotiate. The aim was to provide an introduction for potential National horses to the unique Aintree fences so the Mildmay course was made up of smaller National type spruce fences. As these were unique and not like the traditional birch fences found on other racecourses they were not universally popular with trainers and races over the fences attracted very small fields. The main benefit of the Mildmay course was that Aintree could for the first time stage all National Hunt cards. The first scheduled meeting in December 1952 was lost due to frost and the course lay dormant during the National meeting. The course finally opened on 2nd December 1954 with the first two day Yuletide meeting with Christmas themed race names. The meeting continued until 1965. The Mildmay course was used just once at the National meeting with the Mildmay Chase the centrepiece of the second day of the meeting when there were no races over the National course.
Issue 59 of "The Complete Record" published in August 2011 covers the Mildmay course and provides a full analysis and history of the course from its inception to the present day. As the course was intended as an introduction to the National fences all I have done here is to list all the National runners who competed over the course during the fities. The year of the horses National appearance/appearances will be in brackets after the horses name.
Not included below are the races from 1953-54 season - these will be added when I get a copy of Chaseform/Sporting Chronicle for that year.
In 1957 the first day of the meeting was abandonned due to frost and the races from the second day cancelled with the first day staged on the second.
Port & Brandy Chase, 2 miles
1954 : KEY ROYAL (1st), 1955 : PINTAIL (1st), 1956 : FRESH WINDS (1961) (pu), 1958: SIRACUSA (1st), FRESH WINDS (6th), SEAS END (fell)
Christmas Cracker Stakes - 3 miles, 1 furlong
The highlight of all races run over the MIldmay Course in the fifties and sixties. This race was a National Trial in itself and one of the best races in the run-up to Christmas. It regularly attracted Aintree specialists yet the race is largely forgotten.
1954 : GOOSANDER (1st), IRISH LIZARD (2nd), NO RESPONSE (3rd), GENTLE MOYA (6th), DUNBOY II (pu), 1955 : IRISH LIZARD (1st), ESB (2nd), GOOSANDER (3rd), ONTRAY (4th), PIPPYKIN (5th), 1956 : KERSTIN (1959) (1st), IRISH LIZARD (2nd), MUCH OBLIGED (fell), 1957 ESB (1st), WISE CHILD (3rd), 1958 : PIPPYKIN (2nd), TIBERETTA (4th), MAINSTOWN (5th), JOHN JACQUES (1959) (fell), ETERNAL (fell), WISE CHILD (pu), BOLLINGER (pu)
Turkey & Ham Chase - 2 miles
1954 : GAY MONARCH II (1st), CHERRY ABBOT (3rd), TIBERETTA (5th), 1955 : WISE CHILD (1st), THE CROFTER (3rd), GAY MONARCH II (4th), 1957 : O`MALLEY POINT (1st)
Snap Dragon Selling Chase - 2 miles (abandonned 1957)
1955 : MOOGIE (fell)
Christmas Dinner Handicap Chase - 3 miles, 1 furlong (abandonned 1957)
1954 : PIPPYKIN (1st), MUCH OBLIGED (2nd), 1955 : VALIANT SPARK (1st), MUST (2nd), RED MENACE (6th), 1956 : TIBERETTA (1st), BOLLINGER (4th), MORCATOR (ur), 1958 SUNDAWN III (1st)
Snowball Novices Chase - 2 miles (abandonned 1957)
1954 : PINTAIL (1st)
Mildmay Chase - 2 miles
1955 : RENDEZ-VOUS III (3rd), DEVON LOCH (fell), 1956 : GLORIOUS TWELFTH (3rd), 1957 BADANLOCH, 1958 : OXO (fell), 1959 : LOTORAY (1960) (4th)