Race time is upon us. The eyes of the world will be firmly fixed on Aintree at 5.15pm this Saturday 6th April as the runners and riders gear up for the 172nd Grand National.
Beauty salons will be on overdrive and the bookies will be lining up for what promises to be an action-packed festival as 150,000 racegoers descend on Merseyside for the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Here are the horses running at present and a few interesting facts you may not know about the race of all races below….
The race has been running at its Aintree home since 26th February 1839 and the first ever winner was a horse called Lottery! A very apt name as traditionally thousands of workplaces across the land hold their own mini-sweepstakes for the event.
If you fancy a flutter its worth bearing in mind that only five 100-1 horses have finished triumphant since the race started 172 years ago. The last 100-1 winner was Mon Mome back in 2009. Winning by an impressive twelve lengths it was a great day for punters, not so great for the bookies!
The race is viewed by over 600 million people worldwide. To put that into perspective that is almost 1 out of every 10 people on the planet!
There is traditionally 40 runners in the National jumping 30 fences. There are 16 different fences and 14 of them are jumped twice. The course is a gruelling 4 ½ miles long making it the toughest jump race in the racing calendar.
Ladies do not fare too well in the National. The last winning mare was a whopping 68 years ago and only two female trained horses have ever been triumphant. No female jockey has ever won the race with Katie Walsh coming closest when she raced Seabass into 3rd position back in 2012.
Aintree was once a Viking settlement and got its name after the marauding Danes cut down all but one tree in the area. ‘Ain’ is Norse for one, so One Tree! It’s still a very open area to this day so if you see anyone wearing horns – run!
Racehorses take their names from their sire and dam (Mummy and Daddy to me and you). The offspring of Mared and Quorum ‘Red Rum’ is still the most successful horse ever to run the race with three incredible wins. A record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.
Irish trained horses have a strong record in recent National’s, with seven winners of the race since 2000 trained in the Emerald Isle. As such, punters are often keen to back the Irish horses given the country’s strong connections with National Hunt racing and the belief that any horses heading across the Irish Sea to Aintree must be making the trip with a chance.
Not all horses manage to finish the course, for example if their rider falls off. The highest number of horses to complete the Grand National is a record 23 in 1984
In 1929 an incredible 66 horses finished the race but only two finished!
As the city gets ready for an influx of visitors our hospitality industry will be gearing up to cope with the demand. At the course itself over 300,000 pints, 3,500 lamb rumps and a staggering 750,000 cups of tea will be served across the three-day festival. That’s got to be the Irish influence!
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