The most famous race in the World takes centre stage this Saturday (14 April) at 5.15pm, so now is the time to start thinking about how you’re going to choose your horse or horses. Will it be the name, the colours, the jockey or simply the number that help decide which horse you will be shouting around the famous course?
The race is over 4 miles and 514 yards, with two circuits of the Aintree track and 16 fences. Two of the obstacles are only faced once making a total of 30, in the race first officially run in 1839.
Some helpful statistics that may give you a head start in finding that elusive winner…
The oldest winning horse was aged 15 and the oldest jockey to ride the winner was 48-year-old Dick Saunders in 1982 and the youngest was 17. The biggest price of the winner was 100/1 of which there have been five, the most recent being Mon Mome (2009) and the most famous was Foinavon, after whom a fence was named in his honour, in 1967. The shortest price victor was Poethlyn at only 11/4 ninety-nine years ago. The most number of runners to face the starter was 66 with the fewest being 10 and 1984 saw the highest number of finishers when 23 made it back. Only three greys have won, the most recent being Neptune Collonges in 2012 and a lucky number of 13 mares have beaten the boys. The fastest winning time was 8 minutes 47 seconds when Mr Frisk beat Durham Edition home in 1990.
The race is watched and celebrated around the globe but English trained horses still have a stranglehold on the race. There have been 2 French-trained winners but both were in the 19th Century. 2 Scottish trained winners which include last year’s One For Arthur and the famous Rubstic who became the first in 1979. The Irish don’t have the same success as they do at Cheltenham however there have been 16 winners since 1900, including six since 1999 that have made the short ferry trip to Liverpool. You have to have to go back to 1905 to find the one and only Welsh trained victor when Kirkland won by 3 lengths.
The most famous trainer of the race is Ginger McCain who trained the National legend Red Rum. The three-time super horse won his first National in 1973 when just catching Crisp and Richard Pitman on the line. The following year he managed to win again under 12 stone from L’Escargot and also won the Scottish version in the same season, and still remains the only horse to complete the unlikely double. After two seconds in 1975 and 1976 he came back with new jockey, Tommy Stack, to take his third title in 1977 and here’s how Peter O’Sullevan described that last race.
“The crowd are willing him home now. The 12-year-old Red Rum, being preceded only by loose horses, being chased by Churchtown Boy… They’re coming to the elbow, just a furlong now between Red Rum and his third Grand National triumph! It’s hats off and a tremendous reception, you’ve never heard one like it at Liverpool – Red Rum wins the National!”
Good luck to everyone joining us this Saturday! – Can’t make it this weekend, join us for the Chester Racing Season, starting with the Boodles May Festival on Wednesday 9 May. See the full list of fixtures