The Grand National is considered as one of the greatest horse races of the calendar. Held annually at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, this handicap steeplechase stretches for over four miles, with horses and jockeys jumping a variety of 30 fences, over two laps.
It is estimated that around 600 million people tune in to watch the Grand National, from over 140 countries across the globe. Around 9 million viewers are from the UK. It has been broadcast on British television since 1960, and on the radio since 1927.
Ahead of the event which starts this week. Here are a few facts that you might not have known about the race.
- The very first Grand National ran in 1839 and the winner was a horse named ‘Lottery’ the jockey, Jem Mason, was known for his style and dress sense. Lottery ended his days pulling carts in North London.
- Publican of Liverpool’s Waterloo Hotel, William Lynn was responsible for founding the race, eventually creating the Waterloo Cup to help drum up business.
- The fastest ever winning time was achieved in 1990 by Mr. Frisk, completing the course in 8 minutes, 48.7 seconds. The first ever winning time was 14 minutes and 23 seconds
- The name Aintree is in fact name of Viking origin, where every tree was felled apart from one, giving the name ‘Ain Tree’.
- When the first race began 66 horses started the race. This was the greatest number at any Grand National to date. Numbers are now capped at 40 and horses travel at an average speed of 30mph.
- The first female jockey to race in the Grand National was Charlotte Brew on Barony Fort in 1977. She was given a 200/1 chance of winning. The horse finished its race at the 26th fence. Katie Walsh is the most successful female jockey at the Grand National. With odds of 8/1, she rode Seabass to third place in 2012.
- Red Rum holds the title for most successful horse, as three-time winner of the Grand National, taking the trophy in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He also came second in 1975 and 1976. Red Rum was ceremoniously buried at the winning post.
- Famous fences include The Chair, which 5ft 2in tall, and Becher’s Brook where the famous Captain Martin Becher took shelter after being thrown from his horse during the first ever race.
- The Grand National 2018 will be the 171st Last years winner was One For Arthur, ridden by Derek Fox, wins. One For Arthur became only the second Scottish-trained winnerof the Grand National after a four-and-a-half-length victory at Aintree.8 Apr 2017