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Friday, 23 March 2018

History of the Grand National

The biggest race in Equine Sports history, The Grand National is a favourite amongst punters. Ever wanted to learn more about its history? Check out this article written by Paddy Power Horse Race Betting to learn more!

Founded in 1839, almost two centuries ago, the Grand National is without a doubt the most popular horse race in sporting history. A huge hit with racing experts along with the general public due to its volume of horses and media exposure, The Grand National has been available for viewers to watch on television without having to pay-per-view since 1960, giving it more exposure than other popular races. Founded by a man named William Lynn who had designed the course and built the grandstand on land he had purchased from the Earl of Sefton in Aintree, England. The festival has remained there ever since, increasing its fan base and attendance ever since. It’s estimated that over 600 million people watch the event across the globe on television in over 140 countries, with an estimated 150,000 people turning up in attendance. 

Leading Horse
Red Rum (3 Wins)
Leading Jockey
George Stevens (5 Wins)
Fastest Winning Time
Mr Frisk (8 Minutes 47.8 Seconds)
Youngest Winning Jockey
Bruce Hobbs (17 Years Old)
Largest Field
66 Runners (1929)

One of the many reasons the race is so popular is the awe-inspiring spectacle it continues to provide year on year. It is often considered to be the ultimate test of horse and rider due to the sheer challenge many of the races and jumps provide. This leads to many winners and jockeys becoming legends in the sport and icons to many following their victories. The only time the race has been held on a different course is during World War One, where for three years during the War it was moved to a plot of land in Gatwick (now in use by Gatwick Airport) due to Aintree being in use by the War Office. Initially titled the “Racecourse Association Steeplechase”, its name was briefly changed for the following two races in 1917 and 1918 to the War National Steeplechase, before being returned to its original home turf. Due to them being held at a different location, these three races are rarely considered “true” Grand Nationals in the History books. Moving forward to the Second World War, instead of re-locating the event to a new, temporary racecourse, the race was simply postponed until the war ended in 1945 to focus efforts, time and resources on more pressing matters.

In more recent years, legendary trainer Ginger McCain, most famous for his work with race legend Red Rum returned, 31 years after Red Rum wowed the crowd to become one of the most legendary horses in race history. Around the same time, John Smiths Brewery became the main sponsor of the event, and even launched their own branded race called the “John Smith's People's Race”. This opened up an opportunity for ten lucky members of the public to ride in a flat race at Aintree on Grand National day, something never done before. Before it was cancelled four years later in 2010, over thirty people took part, giving them a chance to spend a day as a Grand National jockey, something very few people get the chance to do.

Who is your money on this year? Do you think the bookies got it right? Or is there an outsider you’ve got your faith in? Let us know, and more importantly, best of luck! Let’s hope you pick the winner, and come out on top!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Cheltenham Stayer's Hurdle, Thursday March 15

The 3.30  Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle may be overshadowed by some of the other ‘championship’ races at the Cheltenham Festival, but the winner of the £201,000 first prize money won’t be complaining. Sam Spinner is possibly a little unlucky not to be unbeaten this season, but has improved – officially by 28lb – for stepping up to distances around 3 miles on his last two starts, in any case, and fully deserves his position at the head of the market.

However, one horse that could spring a surprise is The Worlds End, who has twice finished behind Sam Spinner this winter, but is surely capable of better. Tom George’s 7-year-old has yet to win at Cheltenham, but looked sure to be involved in the finish when falling at the second last in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, over 3 miles on the New Course, last year, and subsequently won the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

The Worlds End has failed to trouble the judge in three starts this season, two on heavy going, but his trainer is reportedly far from dismayed by his performances so far. He has 11 lengths to find with Sam Spinner on their running in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, but appears to have been trained with this race in mind. Provided the race isn’t run in a bog, he should give us a decent run for our money at potentially rewarding odds.

Selection: Cheltenham 3.30 The Worlds End to win  33/1

Picking a Festival Winner

When looking through the competitive racing cards at the Cheltenham festival it can sometimes be difficult to pick a winner. However we have you covered with this horse generator. One horse that will no doubt be in every punters betting slips is star mare Apple’s Jade. She heads for the mares hurdle on day one of the meeting and is the current 4/7 market leader as many punters are betting on the Cheltenham festival.

Apple’s Jade has been an absolute star for connections (Gigginstown house stud) in winning 10 of her 14 starts to date. This record is further enhanced as on the four occasions she was defeated she finished in second place. She has a career RPR high of 162 which she achieved in the Juvenile hurdle at Aintree back in 2016. This was a stunning performance in which she turned the tables on her triumph hurdle conqueror Ivanovich Gorbatov by a stunning 41 lengths. Both horses careers following this have been completely different with Apple’s continuing to go from strength to strength.

The mare has continued to perform at the height of her powers and put in a hard fought performance in the 2017 mares hurdle in defeating the Mullins pair. They were the now retired Vroum Vroum Mag and the Ruby Walsh ridden Limini. Due to this high class renewal of the race Apple’s was sent off as the 7/2 third favourite but duly obliged through out battling the pair up the hill to win by a length and a half.

Jade is unbeaten in three starts this season that included a comprehensive defeat of the 2017 stayers hurdle winner Nichols Canyon by 9 lengths. Her recent victory was one of her best to date as she out battled the classy Supasundae to win by a cosy half a length. This was her first start over the distance but she again showed her toughness having been off the bridle for over a furlong. Her defeat of Supasundae looks even better now following Supasundae’s victory in the Irish Champion hurdle ahead of the likes of Faugheen.

With several of her key dangers now not making the race and it looking a far less competitive renewal compared to 2017. She must be one of the most solid favourites across the four days and one that most punters will be adding into accumulators as the banker.
Which horse will you be cheering on at Cheltenham? How about using the horse generator below to find out which horse to get behind: