THE BIG NUMBERS
The course is 4 miles and 4 furlongs long.
Maximum number of 40 horses allowed.
30 fences must be jumped.
The prize fund is worth £1 million.
2 circuits of the course must be completed.
Favourites win rate is only 15%.
Distance between the last fence and the finishing post is 465 yards.
Of horses will not complete the race.
Time Until The Next Grand National...
COURSE AND FENCES
The first Grand National was held at Aintree in 1839, the race was won by a horse called LOTTERY. This first running was official called The Grand Liverpool Steeplechase and attracted a field of 17 runners.
Racing at Aintree was suspended during the first world war. However, a replacement race was staged at Gatwick Racecourse (now Gatwick Airport) and was run between 1916 and 1918. The race returned to Aintree at the end of the war.
In 1929 a record number of horses lined-up at Aintree. 66 horses started the race and all but one made it home safely. The race was won by the 100/1 long shot Gregalach.
In 1934 Golden Miller becomes the only horse to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National in the same year.
No one remembers the name of the winning horse in 1956, but nearly everyone remembers Devon Loch. Owned by the Queen Mother, Devon Loch was just yards from winning the ’56 race when he slipped and was passed by the eventual winner E.S.B. The phrase ‘To Do A Devon Loch’ is still use to signal exceptional sporting failure.
The unlikely winner of the 1967 Grand National Foinavon was returned at odds of 100/1. And given the horses lack of ability even those odds looked too short. Foinavon was so far behind the race leaders that when a pile-up occurred at fence 23 he was the only horse able to avoid the carnage. He went on to win despite nearly being caught by several horses which had been remounted.
1973 was the year that Red Rum scored his first of three Grand National wins. In 1974 he successfully defended his crown. Red Rum finished runner up in both 1975, 1976 but he returned to Aintree in 1977 to complete the historic treble. Red Rum died aged 30 in 1995 and was laid to rest beside the finishing post at Aintree. The epitaph reads “Respect this place / this hallowed ground / a legend here / his rest has found / his feet would fly / our spirits soar / he earned our love for evermore”
The 3rd of April 1993 is without a doubt the darkest day in the history of the famous race. After a false start the race was declared void when a number of horses could not be recalled. The TV commentator on the day declared Esher Ness the winner in “the race that never was”.
Historically the Grand National has always been run on Saturday. However, in 1997 the race was moved to Monday following a bomb threat which saw the race postponed just hours before it was due to start.
It was the closest finish in the 165 year history of the Grand National. A photo was needed to separate Neptune Collonges from Sunnyhillboy. It was deemed that Neptune Collonges had snatched victory by the slimmest of margins.
Aintree Racecourse 19th Century - Present Day
Becher's Brook 19th Century - Present Day
WHERE THEY FALL
The Chair – 5ft 3in
Fence 15 or ‘The Chair’ is the tallest fence in the race, standing at 5ft 3in. Horses must clear a 6ft open ditch on the takeoff side and land safely on the far side. The ground is 6in higher on the landing side than takeoff side, creating the reverse of the Becher’s Brook fence.
Although most horses successfully navigate this fence it has claimed two jockeys lives. In 1862 Joseph Wynne was fatally injuried during the Grand National and in 1872 George Ede died at the fence, albeit in a different race.
The 90 degree turn just after this fence presents major problems for riders and horses. Jockeys have two choices when approaching, play it safe and jump on the outside or attempt the risky maneuver of apexing the fence at it’s narrowest point and stealing a few yards.
The Canal Turn has been the scene of many a pile-ups over the years, horses that refuse to jump this fence can interfer with other runners. Any jockey who decides to cut the corner also runs the risk of sliding out of the saddle.
Becher’s Brook – 4ft 10in
Official the 6th and 22nd fence in the race Becher’s Brook is probably the best known fence in the world. Jockeys have compared it to ‘jumping off the edge of the world’.
Becher’s Brook is controversial as the size and angle of the 6ft 9in drop on the landing side can confuse horse who aren’t 100% focused on the fence, leading to many serious falls and equine fatalities. In recent years Aintree have extensively modified the fence to make it safer. In 2013 no falls or injuries were recorded at the fence.
THE LONG & SHORT OF IT
8 minutes 47 seconds – The fastest winning time (Mr Frisk 1990)
Smallest number of finishers (1928).
Smallest starting line-up (1883)
Cheapest ticket available for the 2014 race (Steeplechase Enclosure).
11 minutes 3 seconds – The slowest winning time (Zoedone 1883)
Largest number of finishers (1984)
Largest starting line-up (1929)
Cost of hospitality package at the 2014 Grand National (Golden Miller Restaurant).
HORSES FOR COURSES
Average age of the winner (since 1990).
Average weight of the winner (since 1990).
12 horses have won carrying 12st or more.
Wyndburgh finished 2nd on three occassions but never won the race.
Ages Of Winning Horses
The oldest National winner was Peter Simple in 1853 aged 15.
The last seven year old to win the National was Bogskar in 1940.
Only three grey horses have won the race.
Last 10 winners have previously won a race worth at least £17k.
Last 10 winners rated 135 or above.
The 2014 winner Pineau De Re is trained by a retired NHS Doctor.
First Channel 4 Race2013 Grand National
First Live TV Broadcast1960 Grand National
First Live Radio Broadcast1927 Grand National
Oldest Race Footage1911 Grand National
£150 million was bet on the 2013 National.
25% of UK Adults bet on the race.
74% will back their horses each-way.
Over 30% of punters will bet £5 or more.
How People Choose A Horse
Average odds of winners (since 1990).
Shortest odds winner – Poethlyn 1919.
Minimum on-course bet is £2.
2013 winner Auroras Encore returned at 66/1.
Tipperary Tim & Gregalach1928 & 1929 Grand National
Caughoo1947 Grand National
Foinavon1967 Grand National
Mon Mome2009 Grand National
THANKS AND QUOTES
It’s estimated that 600 million people will watch the Grand National worldwide. You can now claim to know more about the race than most of them!
Stats, images and facts for this webpage have been collated from a number of sources, I would like to thank all of them for helping me produce this site. Full credit is given in the boxes on the right hand side of this page. I hope you enjoyed the stats and please feel free to share it on your social networks.
Grand National Quotes
- Ah well, that's racing! The Queen Mother famously remarked after her horse Devon Loch slipped just yards from the finishing line and missed out on winning the 1956 Grand National.
Queen Mother / Owner /
- They say I'm a one-horse trainer but didn't I make a good job of it? - Ginger McCain, trainer of three time Grand National winner Red Rum.
Ginger McCain / Trainer /
- Nobody has ever bet enough on a winning horse.
Anonymous / Gambler /
- Sex is an anti-climax after that! Mick Fitzgerald on winning the 1996 Grand National with Rough Quest.
Mick Fitzgerald / Jockey /
- Punters will be celebrating until Christmas and they will need wheelbarrows to collect their winnings. – William Hill spokesman quoted after the 2000 Grand National.
Spokesman / William Hill /
Information on past winners and various stats:
Photo of A.P. McCoy and various stats and race information:
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Huge source of information for this page – thanks Wiki:
Information and stats on fences and fallers:
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