The Grand National horse race, which takes places each year in Liverpool, is one of the most popular horse racing events in Britain. The distance is more than four miles, and there are many difficult jumps for the horses, so it is one of the most difficult steeplechase races in the whole world. Many people who usually don’t gamble will place wagers on the National due to its popularity. More than 500 million people from across the world watch the event live, so it is famous not only in Britain.
Important Race Information
The Competition is held annually in April at the Aintree Racecourse. We said earlier that the distance is more than 7,000 meters (4miles and 4 furlongs), and there are 30 fences that the horses need to jump over. Many of the fences are tough, like the Becher’s Brook, so many horses fall during the race. The prize amount for the Grand National is one million pounds, which means that it is the richest National Hunt event in the UK. The participating horses need to be at least seven years old and to have a minimum rating by the Horseracing Authority of 120.
History of the Grand National Horse Race
There is a controversy regarding the first time the Grand National was held. Many people think that the year was 1836, but others claim it to be 1839. According to the race records, the year of the first event is 1839, although there were races from the previous three years which had the same format. The Great St. Albans Chase took place at the same time, however, the race was cancelled in 1838. Thanks to the installation of rail links in Liverpool, going to the race track was much simpler, and there was a committee responsible for popularising the Grand National.
That is why the race has been particularly popular in 1839. Edward Topham played a huge role in improving the event since him taking over the lease in Aintree land. Later, the racetrack was also bought by the Topham family, before selling it privately during the 1970s. The race was a part of the track’s schedule each year since its creation, except during the World Wars.
Famous Victors of the Competition
In a way, each winner of the Grand National horse race is considered to be famous, but some of them are more popular than others.
Probably the biggest winner of them all is the horse Red Rum which finished first in 1973 and 1974, was second in 1975 and 1976, and was victorious in 1977. That makes it the only horse which has won the competition three times. His win in 1973 was especially impressive – he was 15 lengths behind the first horse and overtook him just before the last post.
Another impressive win was the one of Tipperary Tim in 1928. During that year the race had 42 participants, but at the last two fences, there were only three left due to awful weather and wet ground. Tipperary Tim was third, but the two other horses also fell, which meant that the won the race at 100/1 odds.
Foinvan was another horse which succeeded at the same odds in 1967, even though it was well behind the leaders when heading up to the 23rd fence. The reason for the win was a loose horse which led to falling horses and a clear path for Foinavan. That is why the name of the fence was renamed in honour of this horse.
The last name in our Grand National horse race list is the jockey Bob Champion, who won with his horse Aldaniti in 1981. Champion was diagnosed with cancer in 1979, and the doctors told him he had only months to live, but he managed to recover and win the race with his horse which itself had medical troubles.
Noteworthy Grand Nationals
Some of the most famous Grand Nationals are in the history books for the wrong reasons – in 1956, a horse named Devon Loch was way ahead of the others before he made a weird jump and fell to the ground. Another horse called E.S.B. won the race that day, and Devon Loch’s jockey Dick Francis could not even finish the race.
A curious event happened in 1993 – a rider got caught in the starting tape, which meant a false start. However, most jockeys thought that the stewards who tried to stop the race were protesters due to actual protesters invading the racetrack before the start. Even though a horse named Esha Ness finished first, the results did not count, and the race did not take place that day.
The Grand National horse race in 1997 is also known as the Monday National because there were bomb threats on race day and people were evacuated from the area, so the race was rescheduled for Monday.
Betting on the Grand National
It is very hard to predict the winner of the competition due to its unpredictability, so that is why many punters are hesitant when it comes to betting on the Grand National. Still, numerous people place wagers on the race, even though they are not the gambling types. If you are looking for the most convenient way to bet on the Grand National, we suggest giving online betting a go. There are numerous betting sites which offer high odds on the event, in addition to having bonuses and promotions, so you can take benefit from them and not leave your house at the same time.