About the Grand National

The 2017 Grand National takes place at 5:15pm, Saturday 8th April

Since the first ever Grand National in 1839 people have flocked to the racecourse at Aintree, near Liverpool, to witness the spectacular event. The course holds 30 fences to be jumped over the 4.5 mile race – the most famous of which being Becher’s brook, Canal Turn, Valentines and The Chair.

The first official syndicate race at Aintree was organised by Mr William Lynn who then owned Liverpool’s Waterloo Hotel. At that time the land was leased from Lord Sefton, and Lord Molyneux laid the foundation stone, which can still be seen today, on 7 February 1829.

The initial flat fixture at Aintree was held on the 7 July 1829, just five months later, with a horse called Mufti winning the opening race. It wasn’t until 1835 that the first jumping fixture was held at the course, but it was on 26 February 1839 the first winner of the Grand National was named.

The race, open to any horse, draws crowds and bettors every year, and with a starting number of 40 strong is the most anticipated horse race every year. Still the most famous names of Grand National history would have to be Ginger MaCain and Red Rum. McCain started training horses in 1953, but didn’t celebrate his first winner until 1965 when San Lorenzo won a selling chase. Still his most famous horse was Red Rum, bought for just 6,000 guineas in August 1965, who was initially thought lame but went on to win three Grand National titles.

His most famous Grand National win, in 1973, under the handicap weight of 10-5, at the age of eight, became legendary because it’s tight margin. Red Rum was retired at the age of 13, and was hailed a national treasure. He later died at the age of 30 in 1995, and is buried by the winning post at Aintree with a commemorative headstone boasting his unbeaten record as well as a life size bronze statue at the grounds.

Although Red Rum is the most famous horse to race the Grand National, countless others have too but each year there can only be one winner.