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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!


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