Time is trotting on and the 2016 Grand National, on the 9th April is nearly upon us. To mark the occasion, we’ve corralled ten facts and figures that might surprise you.
Bet You Didn’t Know….
The race has once been declared VOID.
In 1993 a false start resulted in the race being declared void. 30 of 39 runners unaware of issues at the line, started and continued the race despite the efforts of officials and the crowd to stop the race. Seven of the runners completed the course, led by Esha Ness who recorded the second fastest ever finishing time.
As disappointing as this was for the winners, disappointment was even keener amongst bookmakers who were compelled to return £75million in bets.
Fastest Winning Time
The fastest winning time goes to Mr Frisk (8mins 47.8secs) 1990, trained by our great chum Kim Bailey. The record was previously held by Red Rum (9mins 1.9secs) for the past 16 years.
We’d love to see Kim train another winner and this year he appears to be in with a good chance with The Last Samurai (10/1).
Red Rum is the most successful horse in the history of the Grand National. Rummie – as he was known to his friends – won the race 3 times and was runner up twice. In honour of his place in the hearts and history of Aintree, Rummie is buried at the winning post.
In 1977 Charlotte Brew became the first woman to ride in the Grand National. In 1938, at 17, Bruce Hobbs was the youngest jockey. And in 1982, aged 48, Dick Saunders became the oldest winning jockey.
When placing your bets give some thought to the fact that of the 69 times the race has been held since 1946 -2015 (given that 1993 was void), the Favourite has only won 9 times.
Cross Country Steeplechase
The Grand National was first held in 1839, at this time the runners raced out of Aintree and off over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Fences and obstacles were marked along the route and very little of the race actually took place within the grounds of the race course.
Winner at 100/1
In 1967 after something of a pile up at the 7th/23rd fence, Foinavon – a rank outsider at 100/1 – went on to win the race. A very literal example of the tortoise and hare parable that took even the owner by surprise. He was so unconvinced of his horse’s talents that he didn’t even bother to attend the race…..oops!
Mon Mome also won at 100/1 in 2009.
Longest Run-in to Victory
The Grand National is known for having one of the longest run-ins from the last fence to the finishing post. Being first over the last fence is no guarantee of a win and this feature makes for one of the most exciting finishes of any race.
There have been two films made about the Grand National, National Velvet, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney and Champions, starring John Hurt.
The first, entirely fictional, sees Elizabeth Taylor ride her horse ‘The Pie’ to victory only to be disqualified for being a woman. And the second follows the very real story of Bob Champion’s romp to victory on the previously lame, Aldaniti, after he was told he had testicular cancer and had only months to live.
Last Year for Crabbies
2016 will be the last year Crabbies sponsor the Grand National. Just when we’ve all become accustomed to the relationship and syntax of the ‘Crabbies Grand National’ they hand over the reins to Randox Health. Doesn’t quite have the same ring does it?
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