The world-famous Grand National is held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. It is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 3½ furlongs with horses jumping 30 fences during two circuits. The Grand National is currently sponsored by Randox Health and is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1 million.
The diminutive Tiger Roll won both the 2018 and the 2019 races, but the Coronavirus pandemic put paid to the 2020 running of the race, and Tiger Roll’s bid to follow in Red Rum’s footsteps by claiming a third victory against the 40-strong field. He is now no longer having a tilt at a third victory owing to an “unfair weight” allocation of 11st 9lbs. Tiger Roll is instead declared to run on the Thursday of the Grand National meeting in the Grade One Betway Bowl Chase.
The current favourite to win the Grand National, which gets underway at 5.15pm on Saturday 10 April, is Cloth Cap. The nine-year-old, owned by Trevor Hemmings and trained by Jonjo O’Neill is to be ridden by Tom Scudamore, carrying 10st 5lbs.
The fences in the race differ from the typical steeplechase fences used in Britain, as the cores are topped with at least 14 inches of spruce. In 2013 a number of changes were made to the race in response to the deaths of four horses in the previous two meetings. These included changing the core of the fences from traditional wooden stakes to birch and plastic cores in an attempt to make the fences more ‘horse friendly’ and moving the start. There has been one equine fatality since the changes, when a horse was brought down by a fellow runner during the 2019 race.