Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 29 Mar 1957 (3.17) 4m 4f Good to Soft 9.42.40 35 £8,868 Mrs G. Kohn

55 56 1 Sundew 11 11-07 F. Hudson F. Winter 20/1   Away well, disputed 2nd at 1st. Left in lead 4th. Pecked badly BB 1C when 4L ahead. Bad mistake 10th. Led by 1/2L WJ (where 16 remained). 1L to the good BB 2C. Pressed CS, advantage reduced back to 1/2L 28th. 3L in front 29th, led by circa 6L last and about 7L Elbow. Strongly ridden and kept on well but finished tired.
  2 Wyndburgh 7 10-07 R. Wilkinson M. Batchelor 25/1 8 Held up 1C: left 12th at 1st, 9th VB & 13th and disputed 8th WJ. Steady progress 2C, 5th CT, 4th at 27th & 28th (where 3 1/2L down). Same position, 5L behind leader, at 29th. Disputed 2nd, circa 6L adrift, last. About 7L 2nd Elbow. Kept on well.
  3 Tiberetta 9 10-00 E. Courage A. Oughton 66/1 6 Left 11th at 1st and left 7th BB 1C, still 7th WJ. Disputed 8th BB 2C and same position, 8L down, at 28th. 6th, 12L behind leader, at both 29th & last. Still 6th just before Elbow. Kept on well thereafter.
  4 Glorious Twelfth 8 11-01 B. Renton J. Wilkinson 100/8 8 Initially held up, left 23rd at 1st and left 24th BB 1C. Began to make progress and left 18th CT 1C. Avoided the trouble at the 11th and vied for 11th from 13th to 17th. 10th BB 2C. Disputed 6th CT 2C and 5th from 26th on. 4L down at 28th, 7L behind next and circa 8L adrift last. Kept on very one-paced and tired.
  5 The Crofter 9 10-00 W. Francis Jimmy Power 66/1   Left in dispute of 15th at 1st. Left 9th BB 1C where jockey waved to his auntie as he did CT 1C where 6th. Continued to make progress, 4th WJ. 3rd when rider spotted another relation 18th and carried on in same position until disputed 2nd, 2L down, CT 2C. Power bade farewell to his auntie next (VB) and raced in 3rd again, or a share of, until beyond the 28th. Vied for 2nd once more 29th where 3L adrift and under pressure. Dropped back to 4th, 7L behind leader, at last. Held that position until just before Elbow then weakened. 
  6 Goosander 9 11-07 Cpt N. Crump J. East 5/1F   Left 22nd at 1st and left 13th BB 1C. 11th CT & VB 1C. Disputed 8th WJ. Increasing tendency to jump right early 2C which culminated in a violent leap to the outer & pecking badly BB 2C when 11th. Left 10th VB and same place when jumped right again 27th. A beaten 10th at 29th but kept on dourly if very one-paced.
  7 Sydney Jones 10 10-12 P. Tory M. Tory 25/1   Left 8th at 1st where pecked slightly. Left 16th at BB 1C. Left 17th at CT 1C where hampered by the prone Fahrenheit. Hampered again in the chaos at the 11th. In the detached rear group after and 14th WJ. Virtually tailed off in a last but one 13th BB 2C. Still last but one in 11th at 28th & 29th and bridging gap. Left 10th at last. Continued to gain ground late on, picking off beaten horses.
55 56 8 E.S.B. 11 11-13 F. Rimell D. Dick 20/1   Not fluent. Left in dispute of 15th at 1st and left 11th BB 1C. 9th when mistake CT 1C, 10th when slight error next (VB). Nevertheless, headway to be 5th at 13th and 3rd WJ. 4th at 17th, when pecked 19th and at BB. Vied for 2nd, 2L down, CT and soon took position outright, 2 1/2L behind leader 28th. Joined in 2nd over 29th & 30th, circa 6L adrift at the last. Weakened, dropped to 5th before Elbow and eased right off.
  9 Merry Throw 9 10-12 B. Dutton T. Brookshaw 40/1   Left 13th at 1st. Hampered by the rising Armorial 4th but still made progress to be 5th BB 1C. 7th CT & VB 1C. 10th from before 13th until beyond the 17th. Disputed 8th BB. Had dropped back to 10th CT but rallied into 6th by 27th. Same position, 7L down, next. However, 14L in arrears 29th and beaten in 7th last. Further weakened.
  10 Sandy Jane 10 10-02 P. Murphy B. Beasley 40/1   Always in rear pair. Left 31st and last but one 1st. Left 26th and last BB 1C. Hampered in the chaos at the 11th. In the detached rear group and 15th WJ. Virtually tailed off, 14th and rearmost BB 2C. Barely any progress and well behind when left 11th last. Lumbered past eased horse run in.
54 55 56 11 Gentle Moya 11 10-06 V. Bewicke G. Milburn 28/1   Left in dispute of 15th at 1st and made good headway to be 6th BB 1C and 4th CT & VB 1C. Left 3rd next (10th). Had dropped back to 6th by 13th and same position WJ. 7th BB 2C and 9th when jumped left 27th. Still 9th, 9 1/2L down, 28th. Beaten by 29th, weakened further and eased right off after last.
  F China Clipper 10 10-03 B. Turnell Maj W. Gibson 66/1 30TH Left 9th at 1st. Good progress to be 2nd (4L down) BB 1C where pecked badly. 5th CT 1C. Left 4th at 10th and same position 13th. 5th again from WJ to BB 2C (despite untidy leap at 21st). Had dropped to 8th by CT but still only 7 1/2L down in 7th at 28th. Disputing 8th and beaten though by next. 10th and exhausted when fell last.
  U Four Ten 11 11-11 A. Kilpatrick B. Morrow 50/1 28TH Dived over 1st where left in dispute of 15th. Also left 15th BB 1C. Left 12th CT 1C. Same position WJ and BB & CT 2C. 11th and beaten when mistake & UR 28th.
56 F Athenian 8 10-07 G. Balding D. Ancil 66/1 25TH (VB) Bolted at morning exercise. Away well and 5th at 1st. 3rd from BB 1C to VB 1C, left 2nd at 10th. Same position WJ, 1/2L down. Slight mistake 17th, where 2L behind leader, and not fluent 23rd. Joined in 2nd next (CT) and had dropped quickly back to 5th when fell heavily VB 2C.
  P Rose Park 11 11-13 P. Cazalet G. Nicholls 28/1 19TH (OD) Away well & disputed 6th at 1st. Gradually dropped back to be left 12th BB 1C where pecked, skidded, lost back end & nearly down. Mistake CT 1C where left 13th. Lost at least one further place and then hampered in the chaos at the 11th. In the detached rear group after and 13th WJ. Still towards rear when PU immediately after 19th.
  P Monkey Wrench 12 10-00 W. Stephenson R. Hamey 66/1 16TH (WJ) Slowly away & left 27th at 1st. Soon made headway and left 18th BB1C. Left 15th CT 1C where slightly hampered by the prone Fahrenheit. Hampered in the chaos at the 11th and became increasingly slow in the detached rear group thereafter. Well behind in 16th and last when PU immediately after WJ.
55 56 R Carey's Cottage 10 10-06 G. Balding T. Shone 50/1 12TH Slowly away & left 28th at 1st. Progress to be left 19th BB 1C. Left 16th on outside at CT 1C. Thus able to avoid the trouble towards the inner at the 11th. However, caused to refuse 12th.
  F Tutto 10 10-06 M. Pollard J. Lehane 100/6 11TH (OD) Mid-division 1st. Left 17th BB 1C where pecked. Left 19th CT 1C. Modest improvement when squeezed between two loose horses on take off & fell 11th.
56 F Much Obliged 9 11-04 Cpt N. Crump M. Scudamore 10/1 11TH (OD) Left in dispute of 19th at 1st and left 14th CT 1C. Had lost minor ground when alarmed upon seeing the Tutto incident just ahead of him, made half-hearted attempt to jump and fell back into ditch at the 11th, causing chaos.
  B Felias 9 10-05 F. Walwyn B. Rees 45/1 11TH (OD) Left 21st at 1st where slightly hampered by the unseat of Rendez Vous. Last but one BB & CT 1C. Very minor progress when BD into the ditch in the chaos at the 11th.
  B Icelough 11 11-03 T.J. Taaffe P. Taaffe 28/1 11TH (OD) Left in dispute of 19th at 1st. Left 22nd BB 1C where landed awkwardly. Similar position when BD into the ditch, on top of Felias, in the chaos at the 11th.
  F Red Menace 8 10-00 B. Dutton L. Wigham 33/1 10TH Away well and 4th from 1st to beyond BB 1C. 2nd CT & VB 1C. Same position when fell heavily 10th.
55 56 F Clearing 10 10-01 W. Stephenson R. Curson 45/1 10TH Left in dispute of 24th at 1st. Left 20th CT 1C. Similar position when hampered & fell 10th.
55 56 F Wild Wisdom 12 10-01 L. Bridge L. Bridge 66/1 9TH (VB) Left in dispute of 24th at 1st. Left 21st at both BB & CT 1C. Fell next (VB).
  U Morrcator 10 10-00 G. Owen L. McMorrow 50/1 8TH (CT) Away well & disputed 2nd at 1st. Left 8th BB 1C. Continued to lose ground and vying for 11th when bad mistake & UR CT 1C.
  F Fahrenheit 10 10-00 J. Marshall Thomas O'Brien 66/1 8TH (CT) Left 10th at 1st where pecked badly. Left 14th BB 1C. Had just been left 12th when fell heavily CT 1C.
  U Cherry Abbot 12 10-00 C. Ferrie G. Underwood 66/1 6TH (BB) Away well & disputed 6th at 1st where jockey called a cab, as he did at 3rd when 3rd. Bad mistakes at 4th (where rider clung round horse's neck for dear life) and 5th. 7th when landed steeply & UR next (BB) where a fleet of taxis awaited!
51 52 53 54 55 F Irish Lizard 14 10-02 F. Nicholson D. Nicholson 66/1 6TH (BB) Always towards rear, left 29th at 1st and had just been left 26th when fell BB 1C.
51 52 54 55 56 CO Royal Tan 13 11-12 V. O'Brien T. Taaffe 28/1 6TH (BB) Slowly away & left 32nd and last at 1st. Remained rearmost until carried out by a loose horse before BB 1C.
  R Waking 13 10-05 J. Barratt Cpt T. Pearn 66/1 5TH Slowly away & left 30th at 1st. Last but one 3rd. 28th when caused to refuse by two loose horses 5th.
56 F Armorial 8 11-01 F. Walwyn J. Bullock 50/1 4TH Away well, led 1st & 2nd, pecked 3rd, still ahead when fell 4th.
  F Go-Well 9 10-09 A. Kilpatrick Cpt P. Bengough 66/1 3RD (OD) Left in dispute of 24th at 1st. Similar position when fell 3rd.
  F Hart Royal 9 10-10 R. Lomax P. Pickford 100/7 1ST Away well & disputing 6th on inner when slipped up on landing and fell 1st.
  U Rendez Vous 9 10-06 H. Bowsher A. Freeman 20/1 1ST Had just been left in dispute of 13th when skidded, lost back end a second or so after landing & UR 1st.
  U Virginius 8 10-12 V. O'Brien A. Lillingston 50/1 1ST Had just been left in dispute of 19th when mistake &, though horse somehow found a leg, UR 1st.



In what would prove to be the briefest of dalliances Mrs Topham chose to revert to a Friday Grand National for 1957 in a misguided attempt to recapture the immensity of the crowds in the immediate post-war period. Attendance in fact dropped further. A dreich day did not assist this hare-brained scheme.

The maximum top weight was reduced to twelve stone but the drift of connections towards regarding separately which horses would be best suited by one or the other of the Cheltenham Gold Cup or the National was almost complete. Most likely, because winning the latter would continue to be much better for an owner's bank balance than taking the former, this attitude was shaped by the increasing entry into the National Hunt game of horses with more relative speed in their bloodlines. An animal who was able to display quickness yet stay up to 3 1/2 miles on a park course might not be capable of getting home in an Aintree National. There became an inclination to only try these horses in the Liverpool Blue Riband when they were probably past their best - perhaps they would have replaced their diminished speed with more stamina while retaining their class? 1957 saw the National debuts of two 11-year-olds, Four Ten and Rose Park, who between them counted seven runs, one success and two placed efforts in Gold Cups between 1953 and 1957. Neither would run in either contest again. The 1930s was a golden age of steeplechasing, the 1950s to this point a silver one, however, now it would not be until 1973 (and the next tow-coloured era) that any beast to have finished in the first three of a Gold Cup would make an impact on the Grand National. The latter would retain its status as an ultimate test, having been obliged to share this honour since shortly after the shorter-distance race's inception, but there would be several stretches of time, varying in length, going forward during which the supposed very best horses would not be allowed to test their mettle in both, connections usually opting to decline the riches of the National.

Sundew, large and strong but a clumsy jumper, became the first horse aged over ten to win since 1938 and only the second since 1924. His form during the season had not been as good as that of E.S.B., however, he achieved a career best here whilst last year's victor (and Gentle Moya) did not stay on ground easier than in 1956. It had rained in the morning and did so again just before the off rendering the official going description of Good inaccurate. Sundew, who would sadly suffer a fatal fall at Haydock's water jump in the 1957-58 campaign, was the only jumper in a small Warwickshire yard. Fred Winter, courageous, full of integrity and ultimately four times Champion Jockey, took the calculated risk of sticking to an extreme inner route throughout to gather his first Grand National, he and Sundew surviving a bad peck at first Becher's and an error at the 10th. Sundew held off all challengers after he took the lead at the 4th and had his biggest lead at the finish.

I reckon it was quite a decent performance with the winning time being slightly above average for the going (Good to Soft, possibly on the Good side thereof) and weight carried but I think Sundew falls short of a place on my Scroll Of Merit. Strictly at the weights in the 1957 Grand National he emerged 22 (pounds/lengths) superior to a young Wyndburgh (in actuality trained by owner Rhona Wilkinson, the future Mrs Ken Oliver, as women were still not permitted to hold a licence), 28 better than Glorious Twelfth and 35 ahead of the mare Tiberetta. The exact merit of the form is near impossible to weigh up, though I will try! There had been no National on Good to Soft since 1929 (rendering time comparisons out of the question) and there is no collateral form from previous Nationals. As an alternative I first cast a general view over the renewals between 1957-1964 during which period Merryman is often regarded as the best winner. In 1961 he was about 20 superior to Nicolaus Silver (who triumphed that year). The latter then went on to finish runner-up in the Whitbread Gold Cup to an above average Cheltenham Gold Cup winner at his peak in Pas Seul. Pas Seul gave Nicolaus Silver 21lb and lost 6 lengths through being hampered so, allowing that the latter may have been a bit jaded after his Aintree battle, we could rate Pas Seul about 30 better than Nicolaus Silver and thus 10 better than Merryman. And if Pas Seul qualified to appear on my Scroll it may be at around -14 (Merryman -24) so an educated guess might see Sundew at roughly -27. I then looked at the various weights the handicapper set horses to carry in the 1957 National. Sundew toted 6lb less than E.S.B. (whom I rated -19) so that would rate him -25. Sundew lugged 15lb more than Gentle Moya (-43) equating to -28. And Frank Hudson's charge carried 5lb less than the 13-y-o Royal Tan (-27) for a figure of -32. So, tenuous as it is, I will settle for a rating of -28 for Sundew. However, I must allow the big horse 2 for his mistakes so he actually ran here to a raw mark of -30. Therefore, Wyndburgh gets -52, Glorious Twelfth -58 and Tiberetta -65.



 > Opinion, amongst contemporary newspapers and historians, is divided about 50/50 re whether Royal Tan was hampered & refused at BB 1C rather than carried out.












Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling