A reenactment of the first recorded steeplechase has been made by Channel 4, as its trailer for the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival (3-5 April).

This precursor to National Hunt racing is reported to have taken place in 1752 as a result of a wager between Cornelius O’Callaghan and Edmund Blake. The race was over 4 miles across stone walls, ditches and hedges in Ireland.

For the new advert, stunt horses were provided by the Devil’s Horsemen, a Buckinghamshire-based company, and were filmed racing through villages, jumping barrels and burning haystacks to the soundtrack of Cerebral Ballzy’s On the Run.

2 stuntmen play Messrs O’Callaghan and Blake, with top jockeys AP McCoy and Richard Johnson starring in a present-day racing scene.

This promotional trailer follows on from Channel 4’s inaugural Original Extreme Sport campaign last year, by 4Creative. The period drama of this 1752 recreation contrasts to the 2013 Grand National promo, which featured a street race in Liverpool.

Channel 4 head of marketing James Walker said: “The Grand National was a great success for us in 2013 and we want to build on the Original Extreme Sport strategy in 2014.

“Last year we focused on the ‘extreme’, this year we are bringing out the ‘original’ in a period drama with a twist.”

The campaign will premiere on all Channel 4 networks tonight, Friday 21 March, at 9pm.

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