Betting On The Grand National Betting & Event Guide – 4th, 5th & 6th April 2019
If you are not into horse racing as a sport, you might not necessarily know that the sport is divided into Flat Racing and Jump Racing. The majority of people might not even realise that there is a Flat Racing season at all. This is because they have only seen the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and the Grand National at Aintree.
Is The Race For People That Don’t Normally Bet On Horses
The latter is the horse race for people that don’t generally like horse racing. In fact, people that only rarely gamble on horse racing or at all will bet in April every year hoping for some luck in what is the world’s greatest steeplechase. The reason people are doing so is that the race is very thrilling and has a large field with around thirty fences. In short, it is tough to predict the winner, and every horse has a real chance.
What those punters might not be aware of is that the Grand National is only the main event and it is in fact surrounded by lots of races. Similarly to Cheltenham where the Gold Cup is taking place at the end of Cheltenham Festival, so the Grand National is the main event of a mini-festival on its own.
From Thursday To Saturday
Events will start on Thursday and the Ladies Day is on Friday which is the day before Grand National Day that is on Saturday. Ladies Day is pretty famous as ordinarily British tabloids are covering the event taking pictures of working-class women enjoying the day with their friends. The Grand National Weekend is for people rather than professional gamblers. On this Grand National Betting Guide, we will give you an overview of the race history, how it has changed over the time and also how you can get the most of it from a betting point of view.
Best Grand National Bookmakers
William Hill are usually not considered for Grand National as lots of punters see them to be more of a corporate betting site, given their massive size. In this case, big means better value and usually this concept is also for the Grand National.
William Hill are one of the few betting sites that keeps the free bet welcome offer for new customers even around the big race. In addition to this, they also have several offers for existing customers like ante-post non-runner money back, best odds guaranteed, extra bonuses and so on.
Since they are a large betting site they have a huge amount of payments methods with very high limits and fast payouts.
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Many betting sites are trying to hide when it comes to Grand National. Surely not BetVictor. In the last 10 years, they have been consistently paying 6 places and also offered the best each-way terms. Odds are always very good at BetVictor and this adds extra value to your Grand National bets.
Usually, BetVictor is one of the most honest and fair sites to bet on. They also provide a refund for example if your horse will fail to start after coming under starters orders.
All in all, a very professional betting site that has an intuitive and customer friendly interface. BetVictor Full Review.
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If you are looking for very good betting offers for the Grand National than you should take a look at Coral. They have made a name for themselves in the industry for providing some of the most valuable existing customer free bets and promotions, especially around horse racing.
At Coral, you will find everything you would expect from a top bookmaker including enhanced places, best price concessions and other attractive offers.
Coral is a large betting brand and they do deal well with the increased demands that come with Grand National. Surely a solid option for your Grand National bets.
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How Can You Bet On The Grand National?
This page is giving you a very comprehensive guide to the Grand National Festival including also what is the best value way to bet on the Grand National. We will be looking at the best ways to bet and also what are the recommended bookmakers to bet on the Grand National with.
Better Betting Online Or In A Betting Shop?
Betting Online On Grand National Key Advantages
– Take advantage of generous welcome sign up free bets, bonuses and other offers. On the homepage, you will also find around the Grand National a list of sites that do have the best welcome offers at the moment.
– Pick and choose bookmakers based on who has the best odds for the horses that you are planning to bet on. The significant advantage of online against a betting shop is the range of opportunities that you have when betting on the web.
– Also from a timing point of view, you can collect your winnings online without the need to go back to a bookmaker shop.
– Ante-Post non-runner no bet which is available on some betting sites.
– Possibility to enhance value further with special offers.
Betting On Shop On Grand National Advantages
An advantage that many believes has betting in a shop over online is the opportunity to bet in cash. Things have evolved tough in online, and you can now bet also online in cash: for example, you can do that through cash voucher systems like PaySafeCard, which is accessible in many convenience stores or on the web. With some bookmakers like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred you can also sign up online and get all the additional benefits like a welcome free bet, but deposit and withdrawals can be done in-store using cash.
One of the most significant advantages of betting in a shop is that effectively you don’t need identification. If you do look under the age of 18, you could be however asked for an ID. When betting online, you need to verify yourself with an operator: this is a legal requirement as you need to prove you are over 18 years old and also that you live where you say you live.
How To Choose An Online Bookmaker
Most people might be lead to think that they should go with the betting site that has the biggest welcome offer or that are offering more places for the Grand National. Even if this is not fundamentally wrong, there are few factors that you should consider.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Betting Site For Grand National
– Only place bets with betting sites that are fully licensed. If you are gambling with a site that does not hold a UK gambling license you have no guarantees in regards to your money.
– Methods of deposit accepted – Nowadays all the major bookmakers are offering a wide range of payments methods like PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, etc. Make sure you check that the bookmaker you are going for will accept the payment method you are wishing to use.
– Minimum deposit or minimum bet – Most bookmakers have minimum deposits bonus that is ranging from £5 to £20+ (depending on the deposit method) and some minimum bets that are ranging from £0.10 to over £1. If you are planning to bet low stakes also check what is the minimum withdrawal amount.
– Welcome offer bonus – Don’t get grabbed by the ‘headline grabbers’. The biggest bonus on paper doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting the best value. It is essential always to check the significant terms: rollover winnings, if you can split the offer cash up (usually not common with most bonuses), the expiry date of the free funds, minimum and maximum odds requirements for the qualifying bet, etc.
– Are you planning to continue betting with this bookmaker after the Grand National? If you are planning to do so do check the markets, offers and features on the sports or games, you are more interested in.
How To Register And Deposit With A Betting Site?
Opening a new account and depositing is very simple and can be completed in a few minutes. To register you only need to give your name and address and set up a username and password. You should also use the same address that your payment card is linked with as this will save you some time with address and age verification.
You will also be asked to choose a currency: since you can’t change that later on, you need to make sure you get it right (it has to match your payment method). It is also crucial that you set up a few things in the account like deposit limits, etc. all pretty straightforward.
Sign Up Well Before The Grand National
We strongly advise that you sign up well before the Grand National race: the reason is that lots of betting sites have the tendency to close down registrations as we get close to the race to avoid their servers to become overloaded. When the race is imminent, they will prioritise their resources to serve well their existing customers ensuring that they can place bets. So make sure you register as early as you can as later on you might not be able to do it.
After you have made a registration you will need to pick the payment method and make a deposit. The easiest way to do so is by using a bank card: they are widely accepted and also don’t have bonus restrictions. If you are using a credit card those transactions will normally be classed as ‘cash’ rather than ‘purchase’ which means that you are liable for some charges by your bank.
Paying With Card
Paying with your card is really simple as it is the same process as per any other online transaction. All the betting sites we have listed here are completely secure and also process deposits instantly so that the money will be immediately into your account and you will be all set to bet.
If you are taking advantage of an introductory offer just ensure that you have checked any opt-in boxes and that if there are promo codes that those are entered at the moment of registering. For all info on how to claim those check out free bets page.
Better Ante-Post Or On The Day Betting?
If you have already decided what is the horse that you are going to back, there might be a temptation to get your bets done and dusted well before the Grand National. Although this seems a sensible idea you need to remember that if you do place an ante-post bet (bets placed in advance of race day) bookmakers will treat them differently from bets that are placed on the day of the event.
Main Disadvantages of Grand National Ante-Post Bets
One of the main disadvantages of placing an ante-post bet on the Grand National is that it could be not eligible for some offers: for example if your horse will not run you might not get your money back and also it might not qualify for best odds guarantees, etc.
Main Advantages of Grand National Ante-Post Bets
On the other hand, a key advantage of betting ante-post is that sometimes you can get really good odds if you manage to back the horse that becomes a popular choice on the day of the race (they are not subject to Rule 4). Betting is a game of risk so it is ultimately your call: you can go early and potentially get a better price or wait the day of the race and get better terms.
Regardless of what option you are going for, it is strongly suggested not to wait too long. Remember that this is the single biggest day of the year for betting operators and servers are likely to get overloaded as we get closer to the big race. If you decide to wait until the last minute you might well not be able to place your bet.
How To Pick A Horse?
Let’s put it straight: winning the Grand National is very difficult and we do not have any magic formula to help! What we can say that this is one of the most random sporting events in existence and even those who know everything about horse racing have a very little edge when it comes to this race. So if you are being told not to bet on number, name, jockey colours, in reality, it doesn’t matter as we are talking about pure luck.
Huge Field To Choose From
The field is huge as we have nearly 40 horses that are competing over 4+ miles and 30 huge fences and there is always the opportunity that something will go wrong. It is rather easy to predict flat race like the Epsom Derby but this is a race that has a handful of horses which compete for over a mile on a flat surface during the summer. The Grand National is 4 times longer, it has fences and normally bad weather with changeable conditions.
Favourites Are Normally Struggling
Even in the Grand National race, the favourite has more chances of winning compared with an outsider but stats says that only in 15% of the cases the National is won by the favourites: in summary, if you just back the favourite every year you would be out of money over time. Considering that it makes complete sense to pick horses that do have some chances of winning on an uneventful day but also look at those that have valuable odds.
The majority of punters tend to back a number of horses: some will be favourites while others will have bigger odds. This is in our opinion a good way to manage the risks. After all, over the history of the Grand National, there have been lots of 100/1 horses that have won on the day.
Better Betting On Win Or Each-Way?
After you have done your homework and found the horse you would like to bet you would need to decide if backing him to win only or each-way. When you are backing the horse each way you are effectively placing two bets: one to win and one to place so your stake is doubled. It is important to check the number of places offered to you by the betting site (if you get less than 5 it is not a good value) and the odds you will get for a place (normally 1/5th winning odds but can also be 1/4).
If you decide to bet each way and the horse you have picked go on to win the Grand National then you will be paid on both bets. So if for example, you are backing a horse at 12/1 that goes on and win and you have placed a £10 each-way bet (with a total cost of £20, with 5 places and 1/4 odds) you will get paid £130 from the win bet (£120 win + £10 stake) and you will also get a £50 as you also get paid on the place part of your bet. So in total, you will get £130 + £50 = £180.
If you had put £20 on a straight win you will be getting £240 but in this case, as long as the horse finishes in the top 5 places you will still get paid £50 if you have also covered each-way. There are pros and cons to both scenarios and ultimately it is down to you how much risk you want to take.
As a general rule placing an each-way bet only makes sense if the each-way part of the bet will cover your overall stake if the horse does place. For example to get 1/4 odds each way a horse has to have odds of at least 4/1 so to cover your total stake: in the National, this should cover the vast majority of horses.
Better Take A Fixed Price Or Starting Price?
If you bet on ante-post then bets are taken at a fixed price however if you do bet on the day you can decide if you want to take the fixed price or the starting price, also known as SP. If you decide to take the fixed price then you will keep those odds whatever will happen; if you take the SP then you will be given the odds when your horse comes under starters orders.
Why It Is Important To Pick A Betting Site That Is Offering Best Price Guaranteed
The best thing would be to bet with a bookmaker that can offer the best price guarantee on the day: in this case, it makes sense to take the fixed price as the guarantee means that if the starting price is higher they will give you the difference anyway. If the starting price is lower you will still keep the originally fixed odds so this is a win-win situation for punters.
How To Withdraw Your Winnings?
Normally all the best online bookmakers will pay your bet just minutes after it has settled. Given the huge amount of bets that are processed in the Grand National you would need to be a bit more patient: normally though after a few hours all the wager will be paid. The best thing is to check the evening or the next day: if you are concerned simply check your bet history and if the bet is still classed as ‘unsettled’ it means that hasn’t been processed as yet.
If you make a withdraw for the first time and your account hasn’t yet been verified then you might need to send ID documents before the betting site will allow you to withdraw. This is just a routine so the delay should be minimal but it is something to consider.
When you are making a withdrawal there are a couple of things that you need to bear in mind. The first one is that you should consider that your bank will take some time to process a transaction: this can be between 2-5 working days however for eWallet like PayPal payments are nearly immediate. The second one is the processing time of the site: this can change quite a lot and it depends from betting site to betting site: Ladbrokes for example normally process everything within few hours while some smaller sites can take even two days.
Grand National Festival Race Card
Even if Aintree is famous for the Grand National, the main race is part of the experience if you make it to the course. The full meeting lasts for three days and it is starting on Thursday. Below is a guide of all the races that you will watch every day and also some information about what it is every race about.
Grand National Thursday (Day One)
1st Race 13:45
Last Race 17:15
Main Race Aintree Hurdle
The Day One of the Grand National Festival is dedicated to the UK’s greatest sporting heroes. There are around 35,000 people that normally attend the first day of the meeting: even if the number on Day Three is a lot higher it is still very respectable.
Grand National Thursday is one of the main days of jump if you exclude the Cheltenham Festival and includes top grades races to enjoy. Below have listed the races with some details:
1.45pm The Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase
The Grand National Thursday starts with this Grade 1 steeplechase for horses that are aged five or more. The race is two miles, three furlongs and four-hundred yards and it does feature sixteen fences. It is for novice chasers and the first time it was run was in 2009. It was promoted to Grade 1 race in 2012.
2.20 pm (Race 2) The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle
This is another Grade 1 race which is open to horses aged four-year-olds. It is run over two miles and one furlong and horses are challenged with nine hurdles. In the 1960s and 1970s, this race was known as the Lancashire Hurdle and it was a Grade 2 until 2005. Horses that compete in this race they do normally appear also in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
2.50 pm (Race 3) The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase
Established in 1984 this race is open to horses aged five or higher and it is three miles one furlong long and has 19 jumps in it. This race should have been a kind of consolation race for those horses that didn’t have the chance to compete in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In 2010 it was promoted to Grade 1 race.
3.25 pm (Race 4) The Betway Aintree Hurdle
This Grade 1 race was established back in 1976 and it is over two miles and four furlongs. It was originally a longer race and was run on the final day of the meeting. In 1988 it was shortened and in 2013 was moved to Day One. Horses that compete in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham do normally take part in this race.
4.05 pm (Race 5) The Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase
The Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase is one of the three races that make use of the fences used in the Grand National. It is two miles, five furlongs and nineteen yards long and it is open to those amateur riders that have horses aged six or older. It is a Class 2 race.
4.40 pm (Race 6) The Betway Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase
This handicap chase is for five-year-olds and up and it is over one mile, seven furlongs and one-hundred and seventy-six yards. Horses are challenged with twelve jumps here and it has become a Grade 3 race in 2004.
5.15 pm (Race 7) Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat
The first day of the Grand National Festival is closed with this Flat Race that is over two miles and one furlong. It was first run in 2005 and in 2016 it was made a Grade 2 status. It is open to fillies and mares that are aged four to six.
Ladies Day (Day Two)
1st Race 13:40
Last Race 17:15
Main Race Melling Chase
Without doubts, this is the most colourful and exciting day of racing with lots of ladies glamming up with big hats hoping to win the best dress prize and get a car or other top prize in return. This is the Fabulous Friday with lots of press turning up to photograph the ladies: make no mistakes tough as racing is great with around 45,000 people turning up to see great horses. Let’s take a quick look at the races on Day Two:
1.40 pm (Race 1) The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle
This race is open to horses that are aged four and more and it is run over two miles and four furlongs. It was initially established in 1989 and it is made to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. The race was promoted to Grade 3 status in 2014.
2.20 pm (Race 2) The Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle
The second race of the Ladies Day is for novices aged four and over and it is over two miles and one-hundred and ten yards. This is a Grade 1 race from 2016 and horses are challenged over nine hurdles. Horses taking part in this race have taken part in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but it is significant to note that no horse has won both races since 1984 (Browne’s Gazette).
2.50 pm (Race 3) The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase
The third race of the day was established in 1981 and it is run over three miles and one furlong. Many winners of this race have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup the next year. This is a Grade 1 race open to novices that are aged five years and older. Horses that compete in this race normally have taken part in the RSA Chase earlier in the season. This race was awarded Grade 1 status in 2014.
3.25 pm (Race 4) The JLT Melling Steeple Chase
This race is open to horses that are five and older and it is two miles and four furlongs long. Horses have to negotiate with sixteen fences in this race established in 1991 and that has been a Grade 1 event since the start. Horses taking place in this race also ran normally in the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
4.05 pm (Race 5) The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase
Without any doubts, this is the feature race of the day and was first run in 1949. This race is over two miles, five furlongs and one-hundred and ten yards: this is one of the three races of the weekend that it takes place over the fences that are also used for the Grand National. It is open to horses that are aged five or more. Always Waining made history in 2012 when he won this race for the third year in a row.
4.40 pm (Race 6) The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle
This race was established back in 1988 and it is over three miles and one-hundred and ten yards. It has thirteen hurdles and it is dedicated to horses aged four and more. It was called Satin Novices’ Hurdles and was a Grade 2 race but the name was changed in 1993 and in 1995 it became a Grade 1 race. Horses competing in this race have normally competed at the Cheltenham Festival’s Spa Novices’ Hurdle the month before.
5.15 pm (Race 7) Weatherbys Champion Standard Open NH Flat
Similarly to Day One, Day Two also has a Flat Race in the race card. This race is open to horses that are aged four to six years of age and the race is run over two miles and one furlong. This race was firstly established in 1987 and was given Grade status in 1995. Horses that are involved in this race also tend to compete in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
Grand National Day (Day Three)
1st Race 13:45
Last Race 18:15
Main Race Grand National
It is interesting to note that there isn’t a dress code for the Grand National Festival. You can decide if you go in fancy dress or sports clothing the choice is yours. On Day Thre there are about 75,000 guests at Aintree Racecourse and it is a great opportunity to meet all kind of people there. Below is an overview of what to expect on the main day of the Grand National meeting:
1.40 pm (Race 1) Gaskells Handicap Hurdle
The last day of the Grand National Festival starts with a handicap hurdle that is open to horses that are four and older. It is over three miles and one-hundred and ten yards and horses are challenged by thirteen hurdles. It was firstly established in 1985 and was made a Grade 3 race in 2010. It is a race dedicated to the Injured Jockeys Fund.
2:25 pm (Race 2) Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle
The second race of the day it is run over a distance of two miles and four furlongs and it is open to novices that are aged four and over. There are twelve hurdles that horses need to complete before reaching the final straight. This race was established in 1977 and in 1988 the length was reduced by a furlong. Normally horses that have competed in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdles are taking part in this event which had Grade 2 status in 1991 and Grade 1 in 2014.
3 pm (Race 3) Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase
This race was established in 1954 and changed the name few times over the years. Until 1995 it was a Grade 2 event but then it was promoted to its current Grade 1 status. Normally in this race, we see horses that have been taking part in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival. It is a race open to horses that are aged five and over and it lasts for two miles with twelve fences to be jumped.
3.40 pm (Race 4) Betway Handicap Steeple Chase
This race was established in 1988 and it is a handicap chase run over three miles and one furlong. In the beginning, this was a listed race but it was made a Grade 3 event just before the 2018 Grand National Festival. It is open to horses that are 5 and older and there are nineteen fences to jump.
4.20 pm (Race 5) Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle
This race was also known as Liverpool Hurdle and initially was run over three miles. In 2004 it was extended by one-hundred and ten yards and until 2013 it was the opening race of the Grand National Festival. Horses that are aged four and more can take part in this contests and normally we see here horses that have done well at the previous World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
5.15 pm (Race 6) Randox Health Grand National Steeple Chase
Without any doubts, this is the biggest race of the weekend and possible of the entire National Hunt calendar. The Grand National is run over four miles and five-hundred and fourteen yards. It is open to horses that are seven or older and in order to compete in this race they have to have a British Horse Racing Authority rating of 120 or higher. Even with those hurdles to go over, the field is not limited at all as in fact this is one of the most fiercely competitive fields in horse racing. All the competitors will have to manage to jump over thirty fences in two laps of racing in order to have a chance to be successful.
6.10 pm (Race 7) Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle
The meeting is closed with this race that is over two miles and one-hundred and three yards. This is open to horses that are aged four and more and there are nine hurdles to go over. As it comes just after the main race, it is for conditional jockeys and amateur riders. Even so, it is still a Class 2 race and has a £50,000 prize pot so there will still be quite a lot of interest despite it is just after the Grand National main race.
Aintree Racecourse Full Guide
As we have seen people do love the Grand National but what about the racecourse itself? If you decide to buy tickets to go during the Grand National Weekend or even just a place a bet on a horse running in the main event it is interesting to know where the race takes place and what is the history of this fascinating racecourse. We will tell you all about the facilities available at the racecourse and also the actual course itself with a breakdown of all the jumps.
If you want to be close to the best in the business then you should go to the Winners’ Enclosure: this is where the owners will go to greet their winning horse. It is situated just next to the Parade Ring which is where you can see the horses before they go in the race itself. If you are that type of punter that likes to take a look at a horse to try establishing the mood that is the place you want to position yourself.
Another very interesting place in The Red Rum Garden. In this place, the Fashion Parade is happening on Ladies Day and it is without doubts one of the most entertaining moments of the Grand National Festival. You should also take a look at the statue dedicated to the most famous winners.
What Are The Stands
Watching the race in the stands it is a thrilling experience and here we will give you some information on the different places you can locate yourself. The first is the trackside: standing up against the rails is one of the most visceral experience you can have at any racecourse as you will have the smell of turf and the sound of beating hoofs. It is not easy to get a spot near the finish line but if you do so you will be in one of the best possible positions. You can buy tickets for the Steeplechase Enclosure on Grand National Day and this is where you will want to position yourself if you want a more relaxed experience.
Lord Sefton Stand
This stand is split into three sections that are the Lower Tier, the Upper Tier and the Terrace. You are next to the horse walk and wash down area. Since it is close to the course you will have a good view of what is happening and also with those tickets you will have access to other areas within Aintree Racecourse.
Earl Of Derby Stand
This stand is perfect if you are keen to see what is happening in all of the hotspots of the racecourse. You will be able to see horses that enter the Winners’ Enclosure and also see the horses trot around the Parade Ring and study how they are feeling. It goes without saying you will be able to see the course too in a very good position.
Queen Mother Stand
The Queen Mother was a horse racing fan and this stand takes her name. In this stand, you will have a very good view of the finishing post. In addition, you will also be able to see the Parade Ring and Winners’ Enclosure so it is a great position to be located. Even if it is not the most modern stand this is one that has the best view.
Princess Royal Stand
This is instead a very modern stand and tickets are some of the most exclusive in racing. The reason being is that you have a fantastic view of the course from here: in addition to being close to the finishing post, you will also have a good view of the Parade Ring and Winners’ Enclosure. This is the best place to experience Aintree.
Lord Daresbury Stand
In the Roof section of this stand, you have a bird’s eye view of the finishing post so you will be able to know before everyone else who has won the race. Similarly to the other stands, you will be able to see the Winners’ Enclosure and the Parade Ring.
Even if this part of the racecourse is not as glamorous as the ones we have just seen you will get a very good view of the home straight and the final few fences. With your tickets, you will be able to also access the Tattersalls and other sections of the grounds like the Red Rum Garden for example.
There are lots of options as you would expect for hospitality at Aintree Racecourse. If you are in for a treat in addition to all the different stands that have hospitality options there are also other sections like Topham’s and McCoy’s. The number of options available at Aintree for hospitality has basically no limits so if you are in to splash the cash and impress friends or business colleagues you will have plenty of possibilities.
Grand National Fences
Surely the most exciting thing about the Grand National is the jumps that the horse have to go through if they want to have a chance to win the race. Here we have analysed each of them and also remember that part of the course is repeated so there are some fences that are jumped twice (which makes the total of thirty fences during the running):
The first fence is also jumped again on the second time around. It is standing at four foot six inches and it is approached by the horses at high speed which has caused a series of falls over the years. In 1951 12 runners went down.
This is standing at four foot and seven inches and it is also jumped twice. This fence also has another name, The Fan from a horse that didn’t want to jump this fence for 3 consecutive years.
Fence 3 – Open Ditch
This fence is slightly taller than the first two as it is four foot ten inches. It has an open ditch and it is the first test for horses credentials.
Standing at four foot ten inches tall it is also jumped twice and normally causes horses to fall or riders to be unseated. Even if it doesn’t have an open ditch like the previous one it is very testing.
Things are getting more and more exciting and this fence stands at five foot in height exactly. It is a plain obstacle and it precedes the toughest fence at Aintree.
Fence 6 – Becher’s Brook
The landing side of the Becher’s Brook is six to ten inches lower than the take-off side which means that it is tougher than the five-foot height. This fence will test the ability of jockey and tend to surprise horses.
Fence 7 – Foinavon
It is named after the winner of the 1967 National where mayhem occurred and allowed the 100/1 horse to bring home glory.
Fence 8 – The Canal Turn
This stands at five foot in height so the size of the jump will not test horses and jockey but it is more than they will need to turn immediately to avoid a watery end to their race as the Leed and Liverpool Canal is just in front.
Fence 9 – Valentine’s
This fence was also known as the Second Brook. The name it comes after a horse name Valentina apparently jumped over it back legs first in 1840. It is not sure if this story is real but considering this fence stands at five foot in height a grandstand was built alongside. This was however removed in the 1970s.
This is a bit better although it still stands at five foot in height. It is a plan obstacle and also ran in the second lap.
Fence 11 – Open Ditch
This time the ditch is on the takeoff side and it will also run twice. Considering that things are getting more interesting and the fence still is at five foot in height.
Fence 12 – Ditch
This fence will take competitors across the Melling Road and close to the Anchor Bridge. There is a ditch on the landing side that tends to cause issues and it is also run twice.
This is a plain obstacle and it is standing at four foot seven inches. It is in a position wherein the first go the horses have got a good rhythm and it doesn’t normally cause falls. By the second go legs are more tired but it will unlikely cause disasters.
This is the last of the fences that are jumped twice. It is just four foot six inches in height and it is the second smallest in the race. The only issue is that horses are normally tired when they get here on the final approach and on the first time jockeys are aware of the two difficult fences they have ahead.
Fence 15 – The Chair
This is one of the most difficult fences in Jump Racing. The Chair is the only fence on the Grand National course where a jockey has lost their life. It was in 1862 and the jockey was Joe Wynne. It is five foot two inches in height and it is the tallest on the course. As if this wasn’t enough it also has a six-foot ditch before it. The landing site also has some challenges as it is six inches higher than the takeoff side.
Fence 16 – Water Jump
Even if this is the lowest fence at two foot six inches in height on the landing side there is a ten-foot ditch which is filled with water. This means that horses have to have a really good jump to avoid getting wet.
The Final Stretch
Even if this is not a fence it is worth a mention as it is the last stage that will ultimately decide the winner of the Grand National. Don’t think your horse has won just because it is leading after jumping the final fence as everything can still happen!
Betting On The Grand National – Why It Is So Popular?
The big mass of people will not be following things closely when racing gets underway on the Thursday of Grand National weekend. The racing is still exciting from Day 1. It gives plenty of insights about the going and the type of horses that are liking the track ahead of the big day.
The average Joe won’t be interested as the only aim will be to place a decent bet on the main event that will happen on Saturday. This is quite strange as on Cheltenham Festival, for example, the majority of punters that will place a bet on the Gold Cup will also have a flutter on the other races like the Queen Mother Champion Chase and others. Why is this not the same at Aintree?
Upsets Are On The Cards
To get the real reason you have to go back to 1967 when a horse name Foinavon managed to win the Grand National with a Starting Price of 100/1. He did that due to horses falling and mayhem that led leading horses to began running in the wrong direction. This is why the Grand National is so popular with the average betting person: considering the challenge posed by the fences and the size of the field, there can be major outsiders ending up as the winner. Despite the majority of punters selecting a few different options for the Grand National (including those with low odds), there are lots of people going for a major outsider as ‘everything can happen in the National’.
After all this race has been referred to as ‘the ultimate test of horse and rider’ so it is not surprising to see that it captures the imagination of many: there is the possibility of walking away with large winnings from a small stake and this is the reason why it is so popular with the public. From 2007 until 2017 the winners had very high odds so the likelihood that you will walk out with good money is very high if you pick the right horse.
The Grand National History
The first time the Grand National was run was in 1836 and it was founded by William Lynn. Towards the end of the 1830s, the Aintree event started to become more popular: the reason was the Great St. Albans Chase, which was very big, ceased to exist from 1838. In addition to that travelling by rail was becoming popular and Liverpool Lime Street Station was one of the biggest in the world at that time.
Moved To A Handicap Race
Edward Topham took over the ownership of the Grand National from William Lynn in 843. Topham was a respected handicapper and took the decision to turn the race into a handicap instead so that it could be more open as a contest. In the next years, more and more people started to follow the race and it was still running during the First World War: due to the fact the War Office took control of Aintree, the race was moved near Gatwick Airport for three years from 1916 to 1918.
As we have seen with Foinavon the race started to gain more and more popularity and in 1928 Tipperary Tim managed to win the National after 41 horses that were in front of him fell before reaching the end. Similarly to this one, there are lots more thrilling and fascinating stories around the Grand National that made the race unique with the mass. In 1956 a horse named Devon Loch that was owned by the Queen and Queen Mother had a fantastic race and was leading strongly only to collapse and failed to finish the race!
As we have seen the Grand National established himself as a great race in the 1800s. The 1900s was about the crazy stories that have surrounded this unique event, and Red Rum dominated the 1970s. His success started in 1973 when he was able to win and defeat another horse called Crisp towards the finishing line. He repeated himself in 1974 and also finished second in 1975 and 1976. In 1977 he won the Grand National for a record three times. Red Rum still has the record as only others six horses have managed to win this race on more than one occasion.
Bob Champion – The Romance Of The National
In 1979 jockey Bob Champion expected to live only six months more due to cancer. He, however, decided to defy odds and continued to ride for the next two years: in 1981 he managed to win the Grand National with a horse called Aldaniti. The pair started badly also considering that Aldaniti was just back from a leg injury. They still managed to win the Grand National in one that is even considered to be one of the most romantic National wins of all times. The story was so famous that two years later it was made into a film.
Even if great stories like the one we just mentioned about Bob Champion were in the memory of most, it is a fact that the Grand National started to lose prestige by the middle of the 1980s. This was probably due also to the decline of Liverpool as a city himself that Margaret Thatcher’s government wanted to leave in a state of ‘managed decline’.
To get the Grand National back to popularity, they decided to take some sponsorship. The Canadian alcoholic distillery Seagram agreed to step in and supported the race until 1991.
The 1990s – Big Controversies
In the 1990s the Grand National there were controversies. In 1997 the race, for example, didn’t take place due to two coded bomb threats from the Irish. Hotels around Liverpool didn’t have vacancies, so residents of the city ended up opening their doors and giving those stranded somewhere to stay. The race was then re-run on the Monday with the organisers that gave 20,000 people free admission.
The Arrival Of The New Millennium
The Grand National has acquired more and more prestige in the last decade, and it is good for the whole horse racing sport to see so many people interested in a single race. The romance of the Grand National came to light once again in 2009 when Mon Mome won the event at odds of 100/1. He was the first winner at that price for forty-two years. Venetia Williams has trained this horse and became the first woman since Jenny Pitman in 1995 to train a National winner. The Grand National made history also the following year as it was the first horse race to be on high-definition on TV.
In 2013 the ginger beer producer Crabbie’s became the primary sponsor, and the following year the competition had, for the first time, a £1 million prize for the winner.
Fewer Deaths More Security
In the first 10 years of the new millennium, 439 horses ran in the National and six died. The figures for the Aintree race were a lot higher than elsewhere in the National Hunt’s courses, and this resulted in increased calls from animal rights groups to abolish the race or modify it. Aintree started to work with the animal welfare organisations to make the racecourse as safe as possible without reducing the excitement of the event.
This resulted in some modifications to some of the most challenging fences. Becher’s Brook was modified for example with the inclined side of the jump that was levelled and also with the drop that was reduced. The changes seem to have produced the desired results as since 2012 there haven’t been horses fatalities in the Grand National.
About Liverpool And Aintree
Aintree is a village that is situated just outside Liverpool (5 and a half miles from the city centre). The name is coming from the Saxon and means ‘tree standing alone’. It is a lovely location although there isn’t much to experience outside of the racecourse. This is why the majority of the visitors’ attraction, outside the racing, is the city of Liverpool.
Liverpool vs Aintree
Liverpool is not a quiet place in contrast with Aintree. It is famous for being the home of the 1960s band The Beatles, and you will see that as there are lots of places that do remind the famous band. If you are in Liverpool make sure you visit the Cavern Club in the city centre and also the Beatles museum that is located at the Albert Dock.
The city also has one of the most successful English football club of all time, Liverpool FC, that has won 18 league titles and five European Cups. Just opposite Anfield, you will find Goodison Park which is home to the other team from Liverpool, Everton Football Club. The Blues have won 9 league titles and also five FA Cups. As you can see Liverpool is a very sporty city.
Liverpool’s waterfront is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t forget to check out the Three Graces of the Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the Liver Building. The Liverpool Cathedral is the fifth largest in the world.
How To Get To Aintree Racecourse?
To drive to Aintree you need to look for the A59. The racecourse is just a mile away from the M57 and M58. You should follow the A59 as if you were going into Liverpool centre as you will start to see directional signs as you get closer.
There are up to 1,800 cars places at the racecourse but considering that there are around 75,000 that go to Grand National you might have problems to find a parking spot. It is, therefore, best to book your parking space in advance.
Aintree Train Station is just opposite the racecourse, and it can be reached from Liverpool Central station. If you are coming from outside Liverpool, you should get into Liverpool Lime Street, and that is just a five-minute walk from Central Station. There are trains every fifteen minutes from Central Station, and it takes almost the same time to complete the journey to Aintree.
If you want to reach the racecourse by bus is best to get into the city centre and then look to catch the 300,310 and 345 buses. The main bus station is at Queen Square, and another one is at the shopping centre called Liverpool One.
You can reach the city of Liverpool via the John Lennon Airport. You will find a bus that will take you from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Liverpool South Parkway Train Station: there you will be able to get a train into the city centre and then on to Aintree. It usually takes one hour to get from the Airport to Aintree.