Merryman II – 1960 Grand National Winner

Merryman II

When Merryman II won the 1960 Grand National, he became not only the first Scottish horse to win the race but also the first horse to be captured winning the event on television!

Despite going off as the race favourite, like most Grand National winners, he too needed more than his fair share of luck to get around the course.

He was ridden to victory by the twenty-two-year-old jockey Gerry Scott. What makes this remarkable is that Scott was strapped from neck to waist in bandages following the breaking of his collarbone just twelve days prior to the race.

Of course, that would never be allowed now, but more than 60 years ago, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do!

Owner & Trainer

Trained by Neville Crump, Merryman II gave him his third and final National win after Teal in 1952 and Sheila’s Cottage in 1948.

Even then, it was only due to an impulse buy on behalf of the Marquess of Linlithgow, a former Viceroy of India, that Merryman II ever came to race at all.

Having retired to an estate in Midlothian, the Marquess decided out of the blue over breakfast one morning that he would quite like to get involved in horse racing.

While he lacked the finances to breed a Derby winner, it would give him the ‘greatest satisfaction’ to breed a Grand National winner.

His daughter Lady Joan Hope, even though surprised at his new dream, helped him to make it a reality.

A friend gifted them with a half-bred mare named Maid Marion and Lady Joan had her covered by Carnival Boy, a stallion owned by the Duke of Northumberland, and the offspring that resulted was Merryman II.

Sadly the Marquess didn’t live long enough to see his dream come true. He died in 1952, ever before Merryman II had run.

Road To Aintree

After the death of her father, Lady Joan moved abroad and Merryman II was left with her brother who sold him to Miss Winifred Wallace in Edinburgh.

She used the horse to hunt, rode him in three point-to-points and then in April 1958 entered him in his first National Hunt race under Rules, the Buccleuch Hunters’ Chase at Kelso which he won by twenty lengths.

When Neville Crump saw him run well in a hunter chase at Leicester the following February he convinced Miss Wallace to send him to his stable in Yorkshire.

She relented and he won his first race the Foxhunters Chase at Aintree in the March, followed by the Scottish National the following month.

His next four races, although unsuccessful in terms of wins, showed the horse to be in solid form.

He had already proved himself at Aintree and was quickly made favourite of the twenty-six runners to race in the Grand National.

Merryman II & The 1960 Grand National

Despite being such a difficult race, Merryman II only faced one real challenger in the form of Wyndburgh who was runner-up by just one and half lengths the previous year.

Wyndburgh fell at Bechers, which also took down Mr What, the 1958 winner.

Merryman II made only one mistake, a small error at the seventh, and went on to win by fifteen lengths having jumped brilliantly and gained lengths at every fence.

In second place was Badanloch with Clear Profit in third place.

Merryman II returned for two more Grand Nationals. He finish second in 1961 which was won by Nicolaus Silver, and 13th in 1962 which was won by Kilmore. He died in 1966.

A Historic Race

As mentioned above, the 1960 Grand National was the first to be broadcast live on television.

The BBC used 16 cameras to cover the event, with Cliff Michelmore presenting. Race commentary was provided by the legendary Peter O’Sullevan, alongside co-commentator Peter Bromley​​.

What also makes this specific National historic is that it was the last time the upright fences were used.

After that they were made less daunting by the introduction of a sloping apron on the take-off side.