The Grand National is by far the most awaited horse racing event across the country. It attracts everyone, from passionate race lovers to newcomers. It doesn’t matter where you stand; if you want to enjoy the Grand National to the fullest, check out these ten things to know before attending and read the gold cup guide for the festival.
Aintree Grand National is one of the longest racecourses
Year after year, an entire nation waits for the Grand National. But did you know that the Aintree racecourse near Liverpool is one of the longest in the UK? The four and a half mile long course is also known as one of the most difficult tracks in the world as its length is paired with 30 fences designed to challenge all of the 40 riders.
The first Grand National was won in 1839
The first Grand National edition was held in 1839 and featured less forgiving fences than it does now. The edition was won by a horse named Lottery.
The first Grand National winner was also the slowest winner
Lottery might be known as the first horse to win the Grand National, but it also holds the title for being the slowest horse to ever win the race. Indeed, it took Lottery a whopping 14 minutes and 53 seconds to win the race, whereas nowadays, races are won in a matter of minutes, if you blink you might miss them.
The youngest jockey to win the Grand National was only 17 years old
The youngest jockey to ever win it, Bruce Hobbs, was only 17 years old when he rode the horse Battleship to victory in 1938.
The first female jockey raced in the Grand National in 1977
For over 130 years, the Grand National, like many other sports, was exclusive to men. But, this soon changed as in 1977 Charlotte Brew became the first woman jockey to ever ride a horse during the event. Brew pathed the way for more women to join the race and in 1995, Jenny Pitman was the first female winner of the Grand National.
You don’t have to be a professional jockey to win the Grand National
In fact, many amateur jockeys have won the event throughout the years, including journalist Marcus Armytage in 1990.
The Chair is the most intimidating fence
The Grand National counts 30 fences, but only one can intimidate even the most experienced riders. It’s The Chair, a fence standing at 5 feet and 3 inches tall and that can challenge both jockeys and horses.
Red Rum is the most successful Grand National horse
From all horses to ever race in the Grand National, Red Rum stands out. The horse has won the race three times between 1973 and 1977, despite suffering from a debilitating bone disease.
Golden Miller is the only horse to have completed the Cheltenham-Grand National double
Golden Miller is the only horse in the Grand National history to have completed the Cheltenham and Grand National double. Not only did he win both races in 1934, but Golden Miller is also the most successful Cheltenham Gold Cup horse, winning five consecutive wins between 1932 and 1936.
Vincent O’Brien was the only trainer to win the Grand National three years in a row
Talking about consecutive years, Vincent O’Brien is one of the most renowned trainers for managing to train three successive champions. His horses Early Mist, Royal Tan, and Quare Times won the Grand National in 1953, 1954, and 1955, respectively.