What is the Grand National?
June 6, 2019
The Grand National is one of the best-known and most important National Hunt horse race in England. It is held annually in Liverpool at the Aintree Racecourse, with the first run being held back in 1839. The handicap steeplechase has horses racing over a distance of nearly 7 km, while jumping 30 fences. The guaranteed prize pool of £1 million makes it the best paying jump race in Europe and it attracts horse racing enthusiasts, as well as regular people who don’t watch any other events throughout the year.
A difficult test for horses and riders
The Grand National is a prestigious competition and it has earned its place as a prominent event in British culture. It is also one of the most difficult races of this type, with larger fences and a longer distance for horses to cover. The structure, as well as the course of the race has changed since 1839, when the first cross-country steeplechase took place. The race was founded by William Lynn and quickly evolved from a local race into a national event, with the first official Grand National being won in 1839 by Jem Mason.
Winners are decided at the end of two laps, with 14 of the 16 fences being jumped twice. Even though the start line was moved for safety reasons, the Grand National remains the longest National Hunt race in the UK. Over the last 60 years, the popularity of the event has grown and the races are broadcasted live in the United Kingdom since 1960. BBC has helped the broadcasting rights until 2012, with Channel 4 acquiring them for the next four years, before they were transferred to ITV.
Horse racing fans, as well as those who only watch the Grand National can enjoy the show in the first week of April. Bookmakers who have horse racing in their sports betting offer, dedicate ample coverage to this race and all the best sites to play online will have some great promotional betting bonuses. Punters can bet on the outright winners before the race begins, but also tinker with dozens of other special markets. This is one of the most popular horse races in the world in terms of amounts wagered and it is frequently at the cornerstone of special promotions and sports betting exclusive offers.
Grand National Winners and Records
The highly competitive nature of the Grand National makes it difficult for jockeys and horses to win back-to-back races. There were however certain competitors who won the race more than once, with George Stevens being by far the most successful. He was able to win the event five times between 1856 and 1870, with no other jockey coming even close to his performance.
The record for the fastest ever victory was recorded in 1990, when Mr Frisk completed the race in eight minutes and 47 seconds. A female jockey is yet to win the Grand National, but Katie Walsh still holds the record for the highest place finish. She exceeded expectations in 2012 when she rode Seabass and finished third, 7 furlongs behind the eventual winner.