Grand National Beginner’s Guide

Grand National Beginner’s Guide

The Grand National is the world’s most famous horse race. It is the premium horse racing event of the year, drawing in an annual audience of 600 million people from all corners of the globe. It boasts a prize pool of £1,000,000, and according to some estimates, nearly half of the adult population in the UK bets on it.

In 2021, it will take place on April 10, in its usual location, the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. Since 2017, Randox Health, sponsors the competition, along with its accompanying festival.

Grand National History

The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race. Meaning it requires horses to jump fences and ditches. It got founded by the proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel, William Lynn. He set out to build its course in 1829. There is much debate regarding the date of the first race. Many historians now believe that it started in 1836. However, the first race to bear the name the National happened in 1839. That year, it also got transformed from a local to a national competition.

This cool infographic shows just how popular the National is and points out some key highlights from the race.

Infographic credit:

Grand National Essential Information

The race is a handicap steeplechase that takes place over an official distance of 6.907 km. It involves a maximum of forty competitors and entails two laps, featuring thirty fences in total. It is a three-day event that begins on a Thursday with a Grand opening. Friday is Ladies Day, and the main event takes place on Saturday, at about 5 PM.

There are seven races on Grand National day, with the main one being the sixth one on the schedule, generally lasting between nine and eleven minutes. The fastest time ever got recorded in 1990 by Mr. Frisk (8 minutes and 47.8 seconds), and the slowest one was in the 1839 National, credited to Lottery (14 minutes and 53 seconds).

What Makes This Year’s Event Unique?

Due to the global pandemic, there was no Grand National in 2020. It got replaced by a virtual event, won by Potters Corner, the winner of the 2019 Welsh Grand National. Following a one-year absence, the actual race is making a return. However, per the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, there will be no spectators at Aintree Racecourse. Their plan highlights that there will be no limited entry to sporting events until May 17, at the earliest. On average, around 70,000 fans visit the Aintree Racecourse to view the annual race.

Who Are the Favourites?

Most bookmakers have the Jonjo O’Neil-trained Cloth Cap as the odds-on favourite for this year’s event. It snagged the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November with ease and is in top form. Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now and Willie Mullins Burrows Saint are available at many sportsbooks at ten to one odds. Other viable contenders include Kimberlite Candy, Minella Times, Secret Reprieve, and Magic of Light.

When picking your horse, remember that the last five winners were either eight or nine years old and that the previous twenty winners had a weight between 10st 7lb and 11th 1lb.

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