The Grand National & Aintree 1970-79

Some dire flat racing

Aintrees new owner Bill Davies not only seemed ill equipped to stage the worlds greatest steeplechase but he also did not seem to appreciate that jumping was Aintree`s greatest asset and set about revitalising Aintrees fortunes on the flat. His dream was to stage a £100,000 Aintree Derby. This was the reality - two two day meetings staged in the summer of 1975. These were the first flat only meetings held at Aintree since the mid fifties and thankfully they were the last. The programmes was dull, the fields were small, the prize money derisory and the crowds numbered more in their hundreds than thousands. The meetings are long forgotten but here are the results. Why have I included them here ? God knows but then all racing at Aintree fascinates me no matter how terrible it is.

Wednesday 25th June (Hard)

Freshfield Maiden Plate (2-y-0 filles)5f £ 345 SINDO (T.Ives) 
Blundellsands Handicap  1m5f £ 700 JACANTA (M.Thomas) 
Formby Hills Handicap (3-y-0) 1m£1014 THE OPPORTUNIST (R.Fox) 
Exchange Handicap 6f £ 703 MUJON (P.Cook) 
Knotty Ash Maiden Plate (3 & 4-y-0) 1m6f £ 345 LOMALOMA (B.Raymond) 
Moss Bank Maiden Plate (2-y-0) 6f £ 414 HUNTSMANS LEAP (W.Carson) 

Thursday 26th June (Hard)

Atlantic Plate (2-y-0 seller) 6f £ 345 QUARANTINE (L.Charnock) 10 
Melling Sprint Handicap (3-y-0) 5f £ 715 SILVER TINKLE (W.Carson) 10 
Aughton Handicap  1m2f £1288 

KAFKA (L.Charnock)

DARLING BOB (M.Thomas) 

 4 
Pierhead Maiden Plate (3-y-0 fillies) 1m £ 345 ALTRIVA (B.Taylor)  5 
Crosby Channel Plate (2-y-0) 5f £ 483 CARBURTON (M.Thomas)  5 
Rock Ferry Handicap (3-y-0) 1m6f £ 809 DONNA NOOK (W.Carson)  2 

Friday 18th July (Firm) 

All races at this meeting started by flag

Falstaff Maiden Plate (2-y-0)5f £ 345 ROYAL PURSUIT (B.Connorton)  7 
Macbeth Handicap  1m £ 548 CONFLUENCE (E.Johnson)  3 
Hamlet Handicap (3-y-0) 6f £ 699 RUBYDAR (G.Cadwaladr)  2 
Romeo and Juliet Maiden Plate (3-y-0) 1m2f £ 345 AUNT JEAN (L.Brown) 11 
Cleopatra Plate (2-y-0 seller) 6f £ 345 HOT BELLE (G.Cadwaladr)  4 
Horatio Apprentice Stakes 1m6f £ 442 MRS CHILD (P.Cain)  8 

 Saturday 19th July (Firm)

Great Altcar Stakes (2-y-0) 5f £ 457 SWEET NIGHTINGALE (A.Murray)  5 
Lime Street Handicap  1m7f £ 461 DESTINY HILL (T.Ives)  9 
Aintree Summer Cup  1m5f £1010 NETHERKELLY (K.Lewis)  6 
Kirkham Handicap (3-y-0)1m2f £ 699 SNAKE DANCE (J.Reid)  8 
Lodge Fillies Stakes (2-y-0)6f £ 425 PARTRIDGE BROOK (T.Walsh)  4 
Wirral Maiden Stakes (3-y-0) 1m6f £ 520 ASAMA (A.Murray) 11 

The "one off" Autumn meeting

Racegoers attending the 1972 National meeting would have been surprised and delighted to see an advertisement in the racecard for a Liverpool Autumn Meeting to be staged on Saturday 28th October. "By special request" it said although it was not recorded who had requested Mrs Topham to stage this extra fixture. The programme offered six races, three on the flat including the reintroduction of the Liverpool Autumn Cup, a handicap hurdle and two races over the National fences. The Mildmay course was not used for the meeting. The first race over the National fences was the BP Chase run over the old Becher Chase distance of two and a half miles with the Chair as the second fence. Just five runners lined up but they included 1970 Grand National winner GAY TRIP and the Queen Mothers INCH ARRAN who made all the running to win by one and a half lengths. INCH ARRAN returned to Aintree the following spring where he gained a second success over the fences when landing the Topham Trophy. I doubt if he would have stayed the full National distance but sadly he never raced at Aintree again. The William Hill Grand National Trial was clearly the successor to the Grand Sefton Chase and the eleven strong field was worthy of the old race with dual Gold Cup winner L`ESCARGOT, BLACK SECRET (placed in previous two Nationals) and 1971 National winner SPECIFY in the field. The winner was GLENKILN owned by Noel Le Mare and trained by local trainer Ginger McCain. Like INCH ARRAN he made most of the running to win impressively despite some sloppy jumping. Interestingly neither GAY TRIP or SPECIFY raced again. No official attendance figures were published but the meeting was judged to be a success yet the venture was not repeated and frustrated racegoers would have to wait a further twenty years before Aintree would stage another autumn meeting. 

B P CHASE  2 miles 4 furlongs £2,276 to the winner

1st INCH ARRAN Richard Dennard 
2nd TAZU J.Enright 
3rd GAY TRIP Terry Biddlecombe 
4th GLENZIER LAD Ron Barry 
fell 2ndTHE POOKA Barry Brogan 

 Time : 5 mins 20.40 secs. Distances : 1 1/2-15-dist

WILLIAM HILL GRAND NATIONAL TRIAL 2 miles 7 1/2 furlongs  £4,802 to the winner 

1st GLENKILN Jimmy Bourke 
2nd L`ESCARGOT Tommy Carberry 
3rd GYLEURN Ron Barry 
4th SUNNY LADKen White
5th RAMPSMAN Jeremy Glover 
6th ARCTIC WORKMAN Pat Buckley 
7th BLACK SECRET Sean Barker 
pu flat TIMES UP Brian Forsey 
fell 14th SPECIFY Bob Davies 
su flat KIPPIE LODGE D.Nolan 
fell 1st FAIR VULGAN Doug Barrott 

Time : 5 mins 57.20 secs. Distances : 12-4-1 1/2-8-25