Grand National

A Grand History of the Grand National

Grand National All the way back in 1837 the world’s most famous horse racing event was merely a ploughed field, a stone wall and two hurdles in Maghull.

The Great Liverpool Steeplechase

Has come a long way since then, not only changing name and venue, but also becoming a national sporting institution as the Grand National. Here’s our sportsbook timeline of some famous horse racing faces:

1927: The first year the race was covered by the BBC, at that time it was a radio commentary: no HD back then!

1934: Golden Miller became the only horse to win both the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season.

1956: The Queen Mother’s horse Devon Loch (ridden by Dick Francis) inexplicably gave a half leap 50 yards from the finish and collapsed. Could it have been due to a shadow, or cramp perhaps?

Dick Francis has since carried out research on possible reasons for the catastrophe and has written numerous thrillers based on horse racing.

1967: A big priced winner Foinavon was the only horse to scramble over a particular fence at the first attempt after a massive pile-up; the fence is now named in its honour.

1973: Red Rum became the only horse to have won the race three times (1973, 1974 and 1977), earning a place in the record books for both him and his trainer Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain.

Long since passed, Red Rum is buried next to the winning post and has a life-sized bronze statue at the grounds and a race, the ‘Red Rum chase’, named in his honour.

1979: Rubstick become the first Scottish trained horse to win the Grand National, with celebratory bagpipes played on the return to his Roxburghshire stables.

1981: In 1981Aldaniti gave bookmakers and sports betting fans up and down the country a bit of a panic when the horse almost stopped racing with leg trouble.

1982: Dick Francis became the oldest jockey to win the race, aged 48.

1983: The Pitman Family were no strangers to racing and it was in 1983 when Jenny Pitman became the first woman trainer to win this prestigious race with Corbiere, she followed up with another victory in 1995 with Royal Athlete

1999: Father and son team Tommy and Paul Carberry (respective trainer and jockey) came together to win with Bobbyjo.

2000: Ted Walsh and son ‘Ruby’ combined to win with Papillon: which backed from the morning at 33/1 and took the coveted prize at 10/1.

2003: Monty’s Pass landed a massive gamble with owner Mike Fuller netting close to £1,000,000 from ante-post bets. The horse was backed from 40-1 into 16-1 and romped home the winner.

2009: Mon Mome became the longest priced winner since Foinavon in 1967 when powering home at 100-1 for trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Liam Treadwell.

2010: Don’t Push It, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, gave Tony McCoy his first victory at his 15th attempt at the Grand National.

2011: Donald McCain had an emotional victory with Ballabriggs, following in the footsteps of his father, Ginger, who had trained winners Red Rum and Amberleigh House.

2012: Katie Walsh became the highest positioning lady to date with a third place finish on Seabass, trained by her father Ted Walsh.

2013: Legendary show jumper Harvey Smith (along with wife Sue) won at 66-1 with Auroras Encore, with only two of the runners falling on the first circuit.

2014: Ridden by Leighton Aspell, the 25-1 winner Pineau de Re finished victorious despite a false start and only 18 of the 40 strong field completing the course.

2014: Champion Jockey AP McCoy has announced his retirement by the end of the season.

Currently holding 19 titles, his aim is to retire as the best and hopes to go out with 20 championships. He claims his biggest achievements are winning the Grand National with Don’t Push It and the Gold Cup on Synchronise as well as beating Sir Gordon Richards’ 2002 record for the number of winners in a single season.

The Grand National

The most important event in the horse racing calendar, is often referred to as the “Housewives’ Favourite”, with British women turning out in force each April to back this most popular of races.