THE GRAND NATIONAL

 

 

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The Grand National is the most valuable National Hunt handicap horse race in the United Kingdom. It is the biggest betting race in the United Kingdom, and is popular amongst many people who do not watch horse racing at other times of the year.

 

 

Event

 

It is usually held on a Saturday in early April at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool. The steeplechase is run over two circuits of the Aintree course, covering four and half miles (7.2 km). There are 16 fences on the track, 14 of which are jumped twice. Some of these have acquired near-legendary status for their severity, particularly Becher's Brook and The Chair, although in recent years this severity has been much reduced due to pressure from various animal rights groups. The National is the centerpiece of a three-day meeting, one of only four run at Aintree in the racing season.

 

 

 

 

History

 

There is much debate among historians regarding the first official race held and most who have trawled the newspaper libraries of the United Kingdom now prefer the idea that the first running was in 1836 and was won by The Duke. This same horse triumphed again in 1837 while Sir William was the winner in 1838. These races have long been disregarded because of the belief that the 1837 & 1838 runnings took place at Maghull and not Aintree. In the last twenty years, several race historians have unearthed indisputable evidence that these three races were all run over the same course at Aintree and were regarded as having been Grand Nationals up until the mid 1860s. To date though, their calls for the Nationals of 1836-38 to be restored to the record books have been ignored.

 

In 1923, Sergeant Murphy became the first American-bred horse to win the Grand National.

 

By far the most successful horse in Grand National history was Red Rum, the only horse to win three times, in 1973, 1974, and in 1977. He also came in second in the two intervening years, 1975 and 1976.

 

A fictional account of a young girl training the winner of the Grand National by Enid Bagnold was made into a film, National Velvet, starring the young Elizabeth Taylor as the heroine, Velvet Brown. The events surrounding the 1981 National, and the winning jockey, Bob Champion, were also dramatised in the film Champions.

 

The 1967 running was won by rank outsider Foinavon ridden by Johnny Buckingham after a melee at the 23rd fence, when two loose horses pulled up in front of the field, causing the rest to fall, stop, or refuse. Foinavon was running so far behind, that Buckingham managed to avoid the carnage and Foinavon scraped round ahead of 17 remounted horses, coming home at odds of 100/1

 

In 1993, the result of the race was declared void after a series of incidents at the start, where the starting tape failed to rise correctly, causing several horses and jockeys to be caught up in it. A false start was declared, but lack of communication between course officials meant that seven horses ran the course in its entirety, forcing a void result. The 'winner' of those horses which ran was Esha Ness, ridden by John White and trained by Jenny Pitman.

 

In 1997, the Saturday meeting was abandoned after two coded bomb threats were received, reportedly from the Provisional Irish Republican Army. 60,000 spectators, jockeys, race personnel and local residents were evacuated, and the course was secured by police. The race was eventually run on the Monday, with the meeting organisers offering free admission. Some 20,000 people were left stranded over the weekend, with cars and coaches locked in the course. With limited accommodation space in the city and surrounding areas, those local residents not affected by the incident opened their doors and took in many of those stranded.

 

The Grand National is one of ten events reserved for live broadcast on UK terrestrial television under the ITC Code on Sports and Other Listed Events.

 

 

 

Jockey unseated - Grand National

 

 

Trivia

  • 1853 The oldest ever winning horse in the race - Peter Simple, aged 15.

  • 1900 The winning horse Ambush II was owned by the Prince of Wales - the future King Edward VII.

  • 1905 Kirkland, based in Pembrokeshire, is the only winner to be trained in Wales.

  • 1927 The first BBC radio commentary of the race, by Meyrick Good and George Allison.

  • 1929 The biggest ever field for the race - 66 runners.

  • 1934 The only horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season - Golden Miller.

  • 1938 The youngest ever winning jockey in the race - Bruce Hobbs, aged 17, on Battleship.

  • 1951 The most recent mare to win the race - Nickel Coin (twelve mares have won in total).

  • 1956 Devon Loch, owned by the Queen Mother and ridden by Dick Francis, was in the lead and certain to win when he inexplicably leapt and unseated the jockey on the run-in, 50 yards (45 metres) from the finish, giving victory to E.S.B.

  • 1961 The most recent grey horse to win the race - Nicolaus Silver. The only previous grey to win was The Lamb (1868 and 1871).

  • 1962 Wyndburgh finished runner-up for the third time, but was never to win the race.

  • 1975 The second Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to win the Grand National - L'Escargot.

  • 1977 The first female jockey to ride in the race - Charlotte Brew on Barony Fort, who refused at the fourth fence from home.

  • 1979 Rubstic, based in Roxburghshire, was the first winner to be trained in Scotland.

  • 1981 Bob Champion, who had been diagnosed with cancer and told he only had months to live in 1979, was the winning jockey on Aldaniti, who had almost been retired because of leg trouble.

  • 1982 The oldest ever winning jockey in the race - Dick Saunders, aged 48, on Grittar.

  • 1982 The first female jockey to complete the race - Geraldine Rees, finishing 8th on Cheers.

  • 1983 The first woman to train the winner - Jenny Pitman, with Corbiere.

  • 1984 The greatest number of horses to finish the race - 23.

  • 1991 The race was won by a horse called Seagram - coincidentally the race was sponsored at the time by the company Seagram.

  • 1992 Party Politics won the race just five days before the 1992 UK General Election.

  • 1994 The winning horse Miinnehoma was owned by the comedian Freddie Starr.

  • 2005 The race was moved back by 25 minutes due to the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

 

 

RESULTS 1950-1999

 

 

Year

Winner

Age

Weight

Jockey

Trainer

Odds

1950

Freebooter

9

11-11

Jimmy Power

Bobby Renton

10/1

1951

Nickel Coin - m

9

10-01

John Bullock

Jack O'Donoghue

40/1

1952

Teal

10

10-12

Arthur Thompson

Neville Crump

100/7

1953

Early Mist

8

11-02

Bryan Marshall

Vincent O'Brien

20/1

1954

Royal Tan

10

11-07

Bryan Marshall

Vincent O'Brien

8/1

1955

Quare Times

9

11-10

Pat Taaffe

Vincent O'Brien

100/9

1956

E.S.B.

10

11-03

Dave Dick

Fred Rimell

100/7

1957

Sundew

11

11-07

Fred Winter

Frank Hudson

20/1

1958

Mr What

8

10-06

Arthur Freeman

Tom Taaffe

18/1

1959

Oxo

8

10-13

Michael Scudamore

Willie Stephenson

8/1

1960

Merryman II

9

10-12

Gerry Scott

Neville Crump

13/2 F

1961

Nicolaus Silver

9

10-01

Bobby Beasley

Fred Rimell

28/1

1962

Kilmore

12

10-04

Fred Winter

Ryan Price

28/1

1963

Ayala

9

10-00

Pat Buckley

Keith Piggott

66/1

1964

Team Spirit

12

10-03

George Robinson

Fulke Walwyn

18/1

1965

Jay Trump

8

11-05

Mr Tommy Smith

Fred Winter

100/8

1966

Anglo

8

10-00

Tim Norman

Fred Winter

50/1

1967

Foinavon

9

10-00

John Buckingham

John Kempton

100/1

1968

Red Alligator

9

10-00

Brian Fletcher

Denys Smith

100/7

1969

Highland Wedding

12

10-04

Eddie Harty

Toby Balding

100/9

1970

Gay Trip

8

11-05

Pat Taaffe

Fred Rimell

15/1

1971

Specify

9

10-13

John Cook

John Sutcliffe

28/1

1972

Well To Do

9

10-01

Graham Thorner

Tim Forster

14/1

1973

Red Rum

8

10-05

Brian Fletcher

Ginger McCain

9/1 JF

1974

Red Rum

9

12-00

Brian Fletcher

Ginger McCain

11/1

1975

L'Escargot

12

11-03

Tommy Carberry

Dan Moore

13/2

1976

Rag Trade

10

10-12

John Burke

Fred Rimell

14/1

1977

Red Rum

12

11-08

Tommy Stack

Ginger McCain

9/1

1978

Lucius

9

10-09

Bob Davies

Gordon Richards

14/1

1979

Rubstic

10

10-00

Maurice Barnes

John Leadbetter

25/1

1980

Ben Nevis

12

10-12

Mr Charlie Fenwick

Tim Forster

40/1

1981

Aldaniti

11

10-13

Bob Champion

Josh Gifford

10/1

1982

Grittar

9

11-05

Mr Dick Saunders

Frank Gilman

7/1 F

1983

Corbiere

8

11-04

Ben de Haan

Jenny Pitman

13/1

1984

Hallo Dandy

10

10-02

Neale Doughty

Gordon Richards

13/1

1985

Last Suspect

11

10-05

Hywel Davies

Tim Forster

50/1

1986

West Tip

9

10-11

Richard Dunwoody

Michael Oliver

15/2

1987

Maori Venture

11

10-13

Steve Knight

Andrew Turnell

28/1

1988

Rhyme 'n' Reason

9

11-00

Brendan Powell

David Elsworth

10/1

1989

Little Polveir

12

10-03

Jimmy Frost

Toby Balding

28/1

1990

Mr Frisk

11

10-06

Mr Marcus Armytage

Kim Bailey

16/1

1991

Seagram

11

10-06

Nigel Hawke

David Barons

12/1

1992

Party Politics

8

10-07

Carl Llewellyn

Nick Gaselee

14/1

1993 race declared void because some of the runners failed to be called back after a false start

1994

Miinnehoma

11

10-08

Richard Dunwoody

Martin Pipe

16/1

1995

Royal Athlete

12

10-06

Jason Titley

Jenny Pitman

40/1

1996

Rough Quest

10

10-07

Mick Fitzgerald

Terry Casey

7/1 F

1997

Lord Gyllene

9

10-00

Tony Dobbin

Steve Brookshaw

14/1

1998

Earth Summit

10

10-05

Carl Llewellyn

Nigel Twiston-Davies

7/1 F

1999

Bobbyjo

9

10-00

Paul Carberry

Tommy Carberry

10/1

 

 

RESULTS 2000 -

 

Year

Winner

Age

Weight

Jockey

Trainer

Odds

2000

Papillon

9

10-12

Ruby Walsh

Ted Walsh

10/1

2001

Red Marauder

11

10-11

Richard Guest

Norman Mason

33/1

2002

Bindaree

8

10-04

Jim Culloty

Nigel Twiston-Davies

20/1

2003

Monty's Pass

10

10-07

Barry Geraghty

Jimmy Managan

16/1

2004

Amberleigh House

12

10-10

Graham Lee

Ginger McCain

16/1

2005

Hedgehunter

9

11-01

Ruby Walsh

Willie Mullins

7/1 F

2006

Numbersixvalverde

10

10-08

Niall Madden

Martin Brassil

11/1

 

 

 

 

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