The Grand National is a horse race that takes place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England.

History Edit

The race was founded by William Lynn, and most of the race was designed by him. It is unknown when the first race was, but it is thought to be 1836, which horse "The Duke" won. The Duke won again a year later in 1837. The streak did not continue, though, as Sir William won the next year. Many argue that the three races did not take place at Aintree, and were in fact at Maghull. Evidence has been found to support both cases. In 1838 and 1839, the race became a national event after three events occurred:

  • The Great St. Albans Chase (which was known to have clashed with the Aintree steeplechase) didn't get renewed after 1838, which left a hole for the Grand National to fill.
  • A railway arrived in Liverpool (where the race was located), giving more accessability.
  • A committee was formed to organise the event better.
The race in 1839 atttracted high quality horses and jockeys, also gaining more media attention. The first "official" Grand National was won by Lottery, the 5 to 1 favorite that was ridden by Jem Mason. In the 1840s, Lynn lost interest in the race when his health began to deteriorate, but the race did not end. Edward Topham, who was a handicapper and employee of Lynn, took over the race and began to enhance it.
The Grand National

The Pie in the Grand National.

In the 1920s, Velvet Brown decided to enter the Pie into the race. Originally, the jockey was to be Ivan Taski, but she found him unsuitable since he did not feel that the horse could win. Mi Taylor then thought about riding the Pie himself after summoning up the courage to do so. When he gets back to the horse trailer, though, he finds Velvet in the jockey silks, and she convinces him that she could ride and win if she disguised as Ivan Taski. She wins the race, but passes out from exhaustion and falls off after the finish, causing a rule violation ("The winning jockey must not dismount until the paddock"). It is then that her disguise is blown, leaving Ebony Star as the winning horse.

Layout Edit

The Grand National consists of two circuits of sixteen fences that involves jumping over the first fourteen twice. The length of the race is four miles and four furlongs, making it the longest National Hunt race in Great Britain. Participants start at a lane on one of the edges of the racecourse. Obstacles cover the course.

Fences Edit

On the course, there are sixteen fences. Some are jumped twice.

Fence 1 and 17 Edit

This fence is notorious for high-speed falls.

Fence 2 and 18 Edit

This fence, known as "The Fan", is located after fence 1/17.

Fence 3 and 19 Edit

This is the first big test for the horses. It is 4'10" high, with a 6' ditch in front of it.

Fence 4 and 20 Edit

This obstacle generally leads unseated jockeys to falling off.

Fence 5 and 21 Edit

This is a plain obstacle that goes easy on the riders coming off of the hard 4/20.

Fence 6 and 22 Edit

This 5' tall obstacle known as "Becher's Brook" is one of the most notorious jumps on the course. It has a landing side that is 6'10" shorter than the takeoff side. It was compared to the hedge at East Meadow by Velvet Brown. In order to counter the steep drop, jockeys must lean back.

Fence 7 and 23 Edit

This fence is one of the smallest on the course at 4'6", and was named in 1984 as "Foinavon" after 1967 winner.

Fence 8 and 24 Edit

This turn is 5', but is known for its 90-degree turn immediately after landing. Many horses have gotten confused and run straight after landing. It had a ditch before the fence, but was removed after the 1928 Grand National.

Fence 9 and 25 Edit

This fence, 5'6", was originally named Second Brook but changed into Valentine's Brook.

Fence 10 and 26 Edit

A plain 5' jump that leads runners alongside the canal towards two ditches.

Fence 11 and 27 Edit

A 5' jump with a 6' ditch on the takeoff side.

Fence 12 and 28 Edit

A 5' jump with a 5'6" ditch on the landing side. After completing this jump, the runners then cross the Melling Road near Anchor Bridge. This also marks the point where they re-enter the "racecourse proper".

Fence 13 and 30 Edit

The final fence on the second circuit is 4'6" and has been the sight of where many tired horses fall. No horses have died on this jump.

Fence 15 Edit

This fence, called "The Chair", is 5'2" and is the only jump that has resulted in the death of a jockey. In 1862, rider Joe Wynne fell here and died of his injuries. This fence now has a ditch on the takeoff side to help slow the horses on approach. The ground on on the landing side is six inches higher, creating the opposite effect of Becher's. Unlike the other jumps, this one is only jumped once.

Fence 16 Edit

The 16th fence is called "the Water Jump", and is the shortest jump at 2'6". It is one of the most popular jumps on the course.

Trivia Edit

  • The race involving the Pie was fictional.