Horse racing is one of the United Kingdom’s most popular sports. In fact, over six million people make their way to racecourses every year to enjoy the spectacle and hope that Lady Luck is on their side with the bookmakers.
There are plenty of horse racing events for fans to get stuck into every year, including those at Cheltenham, Royal Ascot, Newmarket, and more. However, there is one event that stands out above the rest – the Aintree Grand National. This is backed by statistics. Online searches for the Aintree Grand National average over 96,000 per month, while second placed Cheltenham Festival is searched for over 55,000 per month. If that wasn’t impressive enough, The Aintree Grand National was searched for over 1 million times in April 2021 alone.
But what is it that makes the Grand National so special and treasured by people around the world while making headline news every year?
The first thing to note about the Grand National is that it is steeped in history. The first Grand National took place in 1839, long before the simplicity and convenience of betting online with Betway.
The Grand National has become part of the fabric of British culture, with families and friends gathering to watch the race, even if they do not usually watch horse racing. This is likely because it has been broadcast on radio since 1927 and free-to-air television since 1960, making it easily accessible.
One of the most significant factors about the Grand National is the course itself. The race covers four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs, making it the longest horse race in the United Kingdom. However, it is perhaps the obstacles of the course that stand above any other factor, with participant horses and riders having to navigate 30 fences that are considerably larger than those found in everyday races. At a whopping 5’2”, The Chair is the biggest fence on the course, and is sadly known for claiming the life of jockey Joe Wynne in 1862.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Grand National is the fact that it is so unpredictable. It has been the scene of some of the greatest horse races of all time, with five 100/1 outsiders claiming victory over the years. Not only that, but some of the most famous horses in the world, such as Red Rum who won a hattrick of Grand Nationals, made their names in this race.
As a spectacle, you can’t forget to mention that the Grand National currently has a purse of £1,000,000 (2022), which is enough to bring some of the best horses, jockeys, and trainers to the starting line in the pursuit of fame and fortune.
Of course, the Grand National also provides everyday people with an opportunity to have some fun, pick a horse, and hope for the best with the bookmakers. One of the most recent examples of a dream win came in 2009 when Mon Mome won the race at odds of 100/1, paving the way for some big winnings for the lucky people who backed him.
Ultimately, the Grand National has a special place in the hearts of horse racing fans around the world due to its rich history, unpredictability, and ability to create new legends.