The Grand National is one of the biggest horseracing events in the UK right after the Cheltenham Festival, and it may not be as famous as the first but it certainly in the most exiting horserace in the country for its level of difficulty and length.
16 obstacles with at least 5 that take down horses and sometimes lives, the course is so tuff that very few favorites even finish the race. Several horses have died trying to and one jockey, who will be the reigning champion for 2017?
Why is the Aintree Grand National so Popular?
The Grand National is a steeplechase taking place just outside of Liverpool on a urban area during the Grand National Festival that takes place between the 6th and 8th of April (the Grand National is the 8th). Although the original track is located exactly on the same spot and was a cross country race heading into the Leeds Canal and back.
The term steeplechase derives from Ireland where horses were raced from steeple to steeple in between church distances in the 18th century (the race began in 1830). The winner was referred to as “lottery” for the difficulty of winning guessing who could win the race, those odds remain even today making this one of the hardest races to handicap correctly.
2016 winner Aurora Encore won with odds of 66/1 and so have many others with odds above 20/1. In fact, only 30 favorites have won the race in over 80 years with Irish trained horses faring better. Aurora Encore did have a point to his favor after finishing second in the Scottish Grand National with a turf familiar to the horse.
The race is a handicap were horses are given a weight based on its form and proven ability on past races. The weight range is 10 stones to 11 stone 10 pounds with a horse at the bottom with 10 stone. Horse with weights outside of the minimum is said to be out of the handicap. While the weight of the highest performing horse frames the weights for the rest of the contenders.
The Aintree Racecourse is unique in terms of distance and number of obstacles with 16 and two laps. 5 of those obstacles are famous for their unique difficulty to jump and land. In the Turn horses meet a 90 degree turn facing the Leeds Channel, many ended up in the water. The Chair is special for its height and strange uneven landing along with the Brook. The run-in is the longest for any jump race in Britain and can see favorites lose against trailers.
Due to this characteristics the Grand National favors horses who can run up a stone better than in conventional races. The Aintree Factor is said to be the ability of the horse to perform better with each time it participates at the Grand National.
Ballabriggs, Seabass, State Of Play and Hedgehunter were all recent runners that outperformed themselves each year after. Red Rum is the most famous horse with the Aintree Factor by winning three Grand Nationals and two second place finishes. To view more details for possible Grand National Winners check Grand National Day 2017 Betting Odds from William Hill:
Vieux Lion Rouge 10/1
Definitly Red 12/1
One of Arthur 14/1
The Last Samuri 14/1
Cause of Causes 14/1