This Saturday will see 40 runners and riders line up for the ultimate national hunt racing challenge in the Martell Cognac Grand National at Aintree.
We look back at some memorable moments of this historic racing challenge. . .
- The first Grand National (named the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase) was run on Tuesday, 26 February, 1839and took place across four miles of open countryside. Aptly, the winner was Lottery, who took 14min 53sec to complete. Mr Frisk, who won in 1990, holds the course record at 8min 47.8 sec.
- Nine-year-olds and 11-year-olds share the best recent record in the race (Shotgun Willy and Ad Hoc, who head the market, are nine). Horses in those two categories have won 14 of the past 25 Grand Nationals.
- Only four horses have carried 11st or more to victory in the past 25 Nationals – Red Rum (11st 8lb, 1977), Grittar (11st 5lb, 1982), Corbiere (11st 4lb, 1983) and Rhyme ‘N Reason (11st, 1988). Red Rum also won the race under 10st 5lb (1973) and 12st (1974) and is the only horse to succeed three times.
- Two greys have won – The Lamb (1868, 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961). The last mare to win was Nickel Coin (1951) – Wicked Crack tried to emulate her last year, but fell at the first.
- Four horses have won at 100-1 – Tipperary Tim (1928), Gregalach (1929), Caughoo (1947) and Foinavon (1967).
- The record number of finishers is 23 in 1984. The fewest is two, when Tipperary Tim beat the remounted Billy Barton in 1928. In 2001, only two horses completed the course without mishap when Red Marauder beat Smarty, although Blowing Wind and Papillon were remounted for the minor places.
- The youngest winning jockey is Bruce Hobbs, who was 17 when Battleship scored in 1938. The oldest is Dick Saunders, who was 48 when successful on Grittar in 1982.
- Of current jockeys, Carl Llewellyn has the best record in the race with two victories, on Party Politics (1992) and Earth Summit (1998). Ruby Walsh has tackled the event three times, winning on Papillon (2000) and finishing fourth in the two most recent runnings, while AP McCoy has never won, but was third on Blowing Wind in 2001 and last year. Of the trainers who will be represented on Saturday, “Ginger” McCain has three wins, Nigel Twiston-Davies has two and Martin Pipe one.
Read the full preview of the Grand National with the list of runners and riders in this week’s Horse & Hound (3 April), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.