The Aintree Grand National Festival
7th - 9th April 2011
6 Apr 2013: 2013 Grand National Betting Preview
5 Apr 2013: 2013 Melling Chase Betting Preview
4 Apr 2013: 2013 Aintree Hurdle Betting Preview
History of the Grand National
Every April the crowds flock to Aintree Racecourse for some of the most spectacular jump races of the year. Spanning three action packed days, the Aintree Grand National Festival is part of the steeple diet of any serious National Hunt aficionado.
Day one hosts the John Smith's Melling Chase, a two mile and four furlong steeple chase event of Group One jumpers. Day two features the Championship Grade 1 John Smith's Aintree Hurdle, over two miles and four furlongs, the main hurdling event of the meeting.
The main attraction however, the steeple chase race of the year, the absolutely incomparable must-see mayhem event for every self-respecting fan of the National Hunt Races is the John Smith's Grand National. Taking place on day two of the spectacular Aintree Grand National Festival, it is unlike any other jump race you are likely to see.
Firstly, the John Smith's Grand National accommodates up to 40 contestants. The sight of 40 horses making a break for the lead on the course is not to be underestimated. Secondly, the Grand National goes over the strenuous distance of four miles and four furlongs, making it one of the longest National Hunt Races. And finally, most importantly, the fences at Aintree Race Course are amongst the most impossible obstacles a jumper will ever face. The race features for example the infamous Canal Turn, a massive fence involving a substantial drop and a 90 degree turn, which regularly accounts for the most fallers in every race.
In 2009 Aintree Grand National history was re-written when a French-trained horse by the name of Mon Mome took the win with odds 100/1 against him. But this type of win and the unpredictability of the Grand National are exactly why it is still so popular after 180 years of service.
The opening day of the festival is sometimes themed. In 2010, the first day is Liverpool Day, featuring events that celebrate the history and importance of one of England's major cities. Races include the Liverpool Hurdle and the Foxhunters' Steeple Chase.
The second day of the Aintree Grand National Meet is Ladies' Day. It's a big day for fashion, as the creme de la creme compete to outdo one another in competitions and in the stands. Races on Ladies' Day include the Topham Steeple Chase and the Novices' Hurdle.
Grand National Day
The third and final day of the meet features the Grand National itself. All other races on this day are overshadowed by the majesty of one of the toughest steeplechases in horse racing, with everything on the day a mere lead up to this great race.
The Grand National
The Grand National is the most famous steeplechase in UK horse racing, and the most popular in the world. An estimated 600 million people tune into the Grand National each year, including many people who are otherwise uninterested in horse racing. A tough test for both horses and jockeys, the race has had a high number of equine fatalities due to the difficulty of the jumps. Becher's Brook and The Chair are the most notorious gates to contend with, and they have ominous histories to match their reputations.
The race is a handicap open to 6-year-olds and up, and it is run on a left-handed turf track over 4 miles and 4 furlongs. Usually around 40 competitors run the Grand National. Held since 1839, the most successful horse in the race was Red Rum, winning a total of 3 times and coming second twice. The Grand National is a fairly rich National Hunt event, as it awarded a total purse of £9,000,000 in 2009, with a £506,970 prize for the winner.
About the Grand National »