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What makes the grand national the best steeplechase in the world?

26th October 2017 Print
Grand National

The Grand National at Aintree in April is one the highlights of the sporting calendar in the UK, as the race has been part of the British culture for a number of years now. Both those who follow the sport closely, and those who don’t, look forward to the Merseyside spectacle every year.

If you are planning a visit to Aintree for the Grand National meeting, you are unlikely to be disappointed by the experience. Here is a look at what makes this race so special and worthy of a trip in the near future.

Uniqueness of the Race

The race itself at Aintree is like no other around the world. A maximum of 40 horses tackle a marathon course of four miles and two furlongs and along the way have to jump 30 obstacles. The fences in the Grand National are much bigger than the average obstacles at a national hunt course, therefore, it is very exciting to see the horses and jockeys negotiate the challenges they come up against. Last year, the race was won by the Scottish-trained One for Arthur, who was a popular winner as he was one of the fancied runners in the betting beforehand.

If you are looking to have a bet on the Grand National, look out for horses who have experience around the course. Last year’s runner-up Cause of Causes is set to be one of the 2018 Grand National runners, while Blaklion, who was fourth, could also have another shot. You also need a horse who has proven they stay the distance, while the weight the handicapper has given each runner is worth considering.

History of the Grand National

Horse racing

The Grand National was first run in 1839, when the aptly named Lottery was successful. Since then, the race has become a bit of a lottery itself as we have seen several 100/1 winners come out on top. The most successful horse in the history of the Grand National is Red Rum. He became a national treasure after winning the contest in 1973, 1974 and 1977, while he also finished second twice in the race. One of the biggest Grand National stories in history came in 1981 when Bob Champion rode Aldaniti to victory. Champion returned to riding after beating cancer, while his horse had also overcome a serious leg injury which almost ended his career. The storyline was later made into a Hollywood storyline. More recently, the greatest ever national hunt jockey Tony McCoy finally won the Grand National for the first time when Don’t Push It landed a gamble in 2010 to give AP his long-awaited triumph in the world’s most famous steeplechase.

Liverpool Opens Its Arms to the World

The people of Liverpool do a fantastic job of making sure that everybody who travels to the city for the Grand National is welcomed with open arms. Not only are the locals friendly, there is a brilliant atmosphere in and amongst the bars and restaurants in the city, while there are plenty of hotels to cover all budgets.

Given then they have two Premier League football teams, Liverpool has lots of experience of hosting major sporting events. The Grand National is likely to continue to be a big part of the city for many more years to come. The 2018 Grand National takes place on April 14 and there are still tickets available through Aintee Racecourse’s official website.

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Grand National Horse racing