All about the Grand National

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  • All you ever need to know about the world’s greatest steeplechase at Aintree

    The course

    • The course is 4miles and 856yds long with 30 fences –16 on the first circuit, 14 on the second.
    • Becher’s Brook was named after top jockey, Captain Martin Becher, who fell at the sixth fence while riding Conrad in the first ever running of the race on Tuesday, 26 February 1839.
    • Valentine’s Brook was named after a runner in the second ever national (1840). “Valentine” took a spectacular dislike to the second brook on the course before finishing third behind the winner, “Jerry”.
    • The Chair got its name because it was beside the seat occupied by the distance judge. It is the tallest fence measuring 5ft 2ins.
    • The total cost of building the fences at Aintree is around £20,000 and takes approximately one month from start to finish.

    Famous runners

    • The first ever Grand National was run on Tuesday, 26 February 1839, and was won by 5-1 favourite, Lottery.
    • The first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals was Abd-El-Kader, in 1850 and 1851.
    • The smallestnumber of horses to complete the National was just two in 1928. The winner was 100-1 shot, Tipperary Tim.
    • The highest number of runners to take part in a National was 66 in 1929, which was won by Gregalach at 100-1.
    • The largest number of horses to complete the race was 23 in 1984. Hallo Dandy was the winner.
    • Red Rum remains the only horse to ever win the national three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977. His body is buried by the winning post at Aintree.
    • Only 12 mares have ever won the Grand National. Nickel Coin was the most recent female success in 1951.
    • Only two greys have ever won the Grand National: The Lamb (1868 and 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961). Suny Bay came a close second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 Earth Summit in 1998.
    • Manifesto has run in more Nationals than any other horse. He competed eight times, including two wins and three third places.
    • The fastest winning time for the Grand National was 8mins 47.8secs by Mr Frisk in 1990.

    Jockeys and trainers

    • Tom Olliver was the first jockey to win subsequent Nationals riding Gay Lad in 1842 and Vanguard in 1843. He went on to win a record third National in 1853 and rode in 18 Nationals in total with three wins, three seconds and a third to his credit.
    • The youngest jockey ever to win the National was 17-year-old Bruce Hobbs on Battleship in 1938.
    • Dick Saunders was the oldest jockey to win the National aged 48 on Grittar in 1982.
    • Geraldine Rees was the first female jockey to complete the Grand National course riding Cheers in 1982. Rosemary Henderson repeated the achievement on her own 13-year-old Fiddlers Pike, who finished fifth in 1994.
    • Jenny Pitman was the first woman to train a National winner with Corbiere in 1983. She repeated her achievement in 1995 with Royal Athlete. Another of her horses, Esha Ness, was first past the post in 1993, but the race was declared void due to a mis-start.

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