Its here once again – The world’s greatest steeplechase. The most challenging and often deadly test for both man and horse, some people love it and some people loathe it, yet since 1839 The Grand National has been THE horse racing event of the sporting calendar.
With a course covering almost 2 ¼ miles with 16 fences, the horses have to complete two full circuits and jump 30 fences (two fences are only jumped once).
But where did it all begin?
Although officially The Grand National began in 1839, in the mid 1820’s innkeeper and entrepreneur William Lynn, sponsored a hare coursing event called the Waterloo Cup. This became very successful and on the back of this, Lynn looked into possibility of leasing some land at Aintree and began to hold race meetings. On the 7th July 1829 racing officially began with three meetings per year. Over time and following increasing success, William Lynn added a steeplechase and by 1839 The Grand National was officially born.
In the late 1800’s one of the greatest horses to ever win the Grand National ran, it was called Manifesto and held the record for the highest weight carried by a winning horse of 12st 7ils. It also held the record for the most number of runs in a race – 8 times.
The 1920’s saw radio bring The Grand National to its biggest audience yet, and between 1941 and 1945 the races were put on hold due to Aintree being used for military purposes during WW2.
Moving forward in history, in 1960 the BBC showed The Grand National live on television for the first time and have been covering the race ever since.
The most famous horse ever to race was Red Rum. In 1973, the young pretender won its first race and followed that up with an unprecedented two more wins in 1974 and 1977.
The 2003 Grand National was the turn of Monty’s Pass to win the race but his win was overshadowed by one of his owners who had bets on the horse to win a total of over £800,000.
And speaking of money…
Now you know the rough history of this most famous of horse races, then the next logical step would be to bet on the next big winner right? So what are the odds…
Well, Sunnyhillboy came incredibly close to winning the Grand National last season, so everyone has their eye on him this year to take the title. But hot on his heels as another keen favourite, is SeaBass and came in third last year too.
So if you fancy a flutter, why not head to Ladbrokes to place your bets, and fingers crossed you could be a big winner too!
Happy Horse racing everyone!