Biddle & Webb Auctioneers of Birmingham are hoping for a victory in the saleroom as The Gold Presentation Cup for the 1958 Grand National will go under the hammer on the 8th December in their Christmas auction.
The legendary winner of the 1958 Grand National Steeplechase ‘Mr What’ powered home to victory by a convincing 30 lengths, despite having little hope before the race with odds set at 18 to 1. ‘Mr What’, was ridden by the Queen Mother’s jockey Arthur Freeman and trained by Tom Taafe in Rathcoole, Ireland. He galloped home to win a record prize of £13,744.00; a fortune in 1958. To put it into context in 2011 John Smith’s Grand National prize fund stood at £950,000.
Mr What’s unprecedented win was cited as the longest winning distance since 1893 which was even more notable as the jockey was 6lbs overweight.
Since the inaugural race in 1839 the Grand National has come to be regarded as one of the most famous steeplechases in the world. A test of endurance for racehorses and riders around two circuits of the Aintree course. The race is a punishing four and a half miles over famous fences such as Becher’s Brook and the Canal Turn and is globally recognised as a unique horse racing challenge.
Mr What’s owner David Coughlan was presented with the Cup by Messrs Tophams Limited who owned Aintree racecourse before it was sold to property developer Bill Davies in 1973.
The 9 ct. Gold Cup was made by jewellery designers and goldsmiths Boodle & Dunthorne of Liverpool (founded in 1798). Its circular body with two scrolled handles, on a tapering circular base, with a detachable domed lid with crown finial is engraved with two horses and their jockeys jumping a fence.
Head of Biddle & Webb’s Silver and Jewellery department Jacqueline Adams said: “This really is a unique piece of racing history commemorating a Grand National victory by a brave horse in a memorable race.”
The cup has a pre-auction estimate of £12,500 to £15,000 and Biddle & Webb have already received a great deal of enquiries regarding the item.
Biddle & Webb’s managing director Jeremy Thornton is quietly confident that the presentation cup will attract a lot of interest from private collectors and specifically those collectors of racing memorabilia. He said: “The 1958 Grand National Trophy is a valuable item in its own right, but the provenance and racing history behind it makes it very desirable indeed.
“The item is beautifully crafted and handling it is very exciting particularly as winning it is considered to be the very pinnacle of success for many race horse owners, trainers and jockeys.”