The Grand National and Aintree 1960-1969

Welcome to the sixties Grand National tribute site. A celebration of the decade which heralded the beginning of endless "last" Nationals, a time when facilities, the racecourse and even the National itself had become something of a standing joke. Aintree may have become a sad, lonely place as one by one it`s fixtures were stripped from the calender but watch closely and the Sixties Nationals have a unique, magical quality. This was the decade that saw the National televised for the first time and ended with Aintree brought to life in glorious "technicolor". For years the Sixties Nationals were hidden away in the depths of the BBC Archive, released only in grainy snippets on Grand National Grandstand. Finally they were shown on Racing UK and thanks to those (probably illegal) copies sold on E-bay we can now marvel at these wonderful races.  Large fields, great front running performances, lots of finishers and some mayhem thrown in. Welcome to the decade of........... Foinavon.

Sources

Paul Davies - The Complete Record -  Issue 29 The Grand Sefton Steeplechase (2002),  Issue 50 The John Smith`s Topham Chase (2005), Issue 59 The Mildmay Course (2011)

Reg Green - A Race Apart (The History of the Grand National) (Hodder & Stoughton - 1987)

Stewart Peters - The Grand National (The History of the Aintree Spectacular) (Tempus - 2005)

Chris Pitt - Go Down to the Beaten (Tales of the Grand National) (Racing Post - 2011) 

Vian Smith - The Grand National (Stanley Paul & Co - 1969) 

Various Chaseform & Sporting Chronicle Annuals

The Times Microfilm. 

I am also grateful to Mick Mutlow. His email to me one summer about the fate of Mr What in the 1963 National got me thinking about the Nationals of the Sixties and what a good idea it would be to create a website dedicated to them. Up the Hammers !!!! 

Some sixties related statistics

Horses

Most  successful National horses

Twenty six horses completed the course in two or more Nationals. There was no superstar like Red Rum in the sixties and amazingly no horse managed to complete in four. The following nine horses completed in three. Star denotes winner. Horses in bold had a 100% completion record. 

Freddie (1965, 1966, 1967)

Highland Wedding (1966, 1968, 1969*)

KIlmore (1961, 1962*, 1963 - fell in 1964 & in 1961 Becher Chase)

Merryman II (1960, 1961, 1962 - won 1959 Foxhunters)

Nicolaus Silver (1961*, 1962, 1963 - won 1961 Grand Sefton & completed 1962 Grand Sefton)

Quintin Bay (1966, 1967, 1968 - ran in 1964 Grand Sefton & 1966 Topham)

Steel Bridge (1967, 1968, 1969 - fell in 1966 Topham)

Team Spirit (1961, 1963, 1964* - fell in 1960 & 1962 National, won 1963 Grand Sefton)

The Fossa (1966, 1968, 1969 - pulled up 1967 National, won 1965 Grand Sefton) 

Least successful National horses 

The following fell at the first fence on their only visit to Aintree

Lotoray (1960), Floater (1961), Magic Tricks (1963) 

Times

9 mins 22 3/5 secs -  Nicolaus Silver (1961) - Firm

9 mins 26 1/5 secs -  Merryman II (1960) - Good 

9 mins 28 4/5 secs -  Red Alligator (1968) - Good 

9 mins 30 3/5 secs -  Jay Trump (1965) - Good 

9 mins 30 4/5 secs -  Highland Wedding (1969) - Good

9 mins 35 4/5 secs -  Ayala (1963) - Soft 

9 mins 46 4/5 secs -  Team Spirit (1964) - Good to Soft 

9 mins 49 3/5 secs -  Foinavon (1967) - Good

9 mins 50 secs       -   Kilmore (1962) - Heavy 

9 mins 52 4/5 secs -  Anglo (1966) - Soft 

Jockeys

No jockeys won more than one National and only one, Brian Fletcher managed a win and a place (Red Alligator 67 & 68).

One hundred and sixty three jockeys rode in the National during the sixties. These jockeys rode in six or more :-

Nine rides

Terry Biddlecombe (best placing fourth The Fossa - 1966, Greek Scholar - 1967)

David Nicholson (fifth Vultrix - 1965) 

Eight rides

Stan Mellor (second Badenloch - 1960) 

Willie Robinson (winner Team Spirit - 1964) 

Pat Taaffe (seventh Jonjo - 1961, Owen`s Sedge 1963) 

Seven rides

Eddie Harty (winner Highland Wedding - 1969)

Mr John Lawrence (second Carrickbeg - 1963)

Michael Scudamore (nineteenth O`Malley Point - 1963) 

Six rides 

Bobby Beasley (winner Nicolaus Silver - 1961 

Pat Buckley (winner Ayala - 1963)

Tommy Carberry (fifth Packed Home - 1967)

Josh Gifford ( second  Honey End - 1967) 

Johnny Lehane (third Mr What - 1962) 

David Mould (third Different Class - 1968) 

Bill Rees (fourth Scottish Flight II - 1961 & The Beeches - 1969) 

Of the ten winning riders Tommy Smith (Jay Trump) won on his only ride whilst Tim Norman (Anglo), Johnny Buckingham (Foinavon) won on their first attempt. Gerry Scott (Merryman II), Pat Buckley (Ayala) and Brian Fletcher (Red Alligator) won on their second. 

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