Tuesday 30 April 2019

Sundew Inks a Spectacular Win in the 1957 Grand National

The 1957 Grand National was the 111th staging of the annual Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse, located in Liverpool, England. The widely watched championships were won by Sundew, a 20/1 shot who'd already shown a great deal of racetrack prowess in a couple of other preceding equestrian meets. 

The event’s overall winner was spectacularly ridden by Fred Winter, the proud product of Frank Hudson’s terrific training genius. It is actually one of the most accurately predicted wins that did not disappoint the optimistic guess of fans. The top pair's resounding victory also doubles up as one of the best winning margins ever. 

It happened to be Sundew's third round to try the international race's widely coveted jackpot, having fruitlessly fought for similar honours previously - in 1955, and again in the 1956 Nationals. 

The event attracted an odd number of thirty-five horses, unlike the modern day customary count of forty contenders. While much of the occasion's facts and figures remain shrouded in mystery, a fair number of snapshots still immortalize the thrilling racecourse spectacle. 

A rather striking aspect of that year's clash was that all the participants finally managed to safely return to the stables. This places the 1957 Grand National among the most casualty-free of all such meets that have been held since their inception, well over two centuries ago.  

The winning jockey - Fredrick Thomas Winter - entered British National Hunt's racing annals as the only guy to win the Grand National both as a jockey and trainer. It's a genuinely infrequent exploit attained by very other riders and trainers in the favourite game's richly variegated history. 

In particular, the iconic equestrian maverick emerged four times victorious in the British jump racing champion. As a further testament to his limitless gaming prowess, the unbowed equine sporting ace reigned eight times as a National Hunt winning trainer.

Thus his 1957 National victory atop Sundew did not come as a totally unforeseen achievement...for, even as his entry odds quite easily prove, the successful runner had severally shown a great deal of really promising sprinting ├ęclat in key preceding tourneys.

His most illustrious racetrack feat probably came in 1962, when he inked a pretty unforgettable victory on Mandarin; during the Grand Steeplechase de Paris at the famous Auteuil. All these impregnable stunts were despite the fact that the industrious jockey was a bit unwell, and his horse wasn't in the best shape either.

Born on 20 September 1926, the English equestrian legend went down history books as one of the most finessed horse riders to ever achieve unimaginably huge gaming fame at a really tender age...hence becoming all the more commendable when you consider the fairytale-like additional that he doubled up as a trainer as well. 

The always triumphant man of horses would eventually breathe his last in 2004, aged 77 years. Adoring tributes swiftly began to trickle in from all the four corners of the earth, fittingly commemorating the awards-decorated life of a truly iconic man of extraordinary horse-riding talent. 

Even today, Fred Winter still occupies a highly prestigious slot in the whole history of British horse-gaming fraternity for a multiplicity of notable reasons. 

He was, for instance, the only professional rider to clinch first-place titles in three of Europe's most important equine championships. For these uncommonly outstanding racing milestones, Winter was declared CBE in 1963. And remains an exceedingly auspicious description he shares with very few other equestrian champions, even among the present crop of 21st-century gaming celebrities. 

For a swift recap, the leading horse in the 1957 Grand National Sundew, aged years then. The second place went to a fairly unknown horse dubbed Wyndburgh, ridden by Jockey Michael Batchelor. Clear details about the respective prize monies pocketed by the respective top finishers do however remain rather scanty up to the current moment. 

The third position went to Tiberretta who was steered by Alan Houghton. The fourth place was claimed by Glorious Twelfth/Jumbo Wilkinson and The Crofter/Jimmy Power pairs respectively. 

Hart Royal, Virginius, and Rendezvous III are listed among the memorable day's most notable non-finishers. However, as has earlier been noted above, the time-honoured race did not witness that many mid-circuit mishaps leading to fatalities.