The Grand National

History and General Information about the Grand National

Grand National Horse Racing
The Grand National is the best known horse race anywhere in the world. It is held every year at Aintree Racecourse near ​Liverpool and is the ultimate test of the National Hunt horse. It is a handicap run over a distance of around four-and-a-half miles with thirty fences over two circuits of the track.

The Grand National will be back in April 2013 to prove itself as one of the world’s best horse races once again.

Online betting on the 2013 Grand National is available with decent odds and great promos over at William Hill.

It was first run in 1839 and was won by a horse named Lottery. Captain Martin Becher was unseated from his mount, Conrad, when leading at the sixth fence on the first circuit and the fence became known as Becher’s Brook. The Grand National is the feature race of a three-day meeting and is hugely popular with the British public. Many people who have no interest in the sport will still have their bet every year on the Grand National.

When is the Grand National 2013?

The meeting is held in April and often attracts many of the top horses from the previous month’s Cheltenham festival. There have been numerous alterations to the conditions for entry to the Grand National and the course itself in the interest of safety in recent years and this has brought about a steady improvement in the quality of runners in the race.

The course is unique with fences such as Becher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn unlike anything else that a horse will meet during the season. Despite being a handicap, it is rated as one of the most coveted prizes in National Hunt racing by trainers and jockeys alike. The race commands a massive TV audience but The BBC lost the broadcasting rights in 2012 after 52 years of televising the race. Channel 4 will take up the licence in 2013 for a race that has an estimated worldwide audience in the region of 500 million people.

Famous Grand Nationals

In 1956, Dick Francis was riding The Queen Mother’s Devon Loch and was five lengths clear after jumping the last safely. As the crowd prepared to celebrate what looked a certain Royal victory, the horse suddenly collapsed as if attempting to jump a non-existent fence and was overhauled by E.S.B.

In 1967, the riderless Popham Down ran across in front of the leaders at the 23rd fence causing many to fall, refuse or unseat their riders. 100-1 outsider Foinavon, ridden by John Buckingham, had been far enough back to be able to steer a wide course and found himself out in front. He held such an advantage that nothing could catch him. The fence was later officially named “The Foinavon Fence”.

In 1973, the top weight Crisp had jumped superbly out in front under Richard Pitman and led the field a merry dance until the famous long run-in. Conceding 23lbs, he had fifteen lengths in hand of Red Rum jumping the last but suddenly started to tie up as his big weight finally told. As he approached the line he was agonisingly caught by Red Rum but would be remembered as the greatest loser in the history of the race.

In 1977, Red Rum achieved a remarkable third win in the Grand National at the age of 12. He remains the most successful racehorse in the history of the Grand National. His three victories came in 1973, 1974, and 1977. He also finished second in 1975 and 1976.

In 1981, jockey Bob Champion had made a brave recovery from cancer in order to ride a horse called Aldaniti in the Grand National. The horse also had to recover from severe leg problems but, superbly trained by Josh Gifford, the pair pulled off a famous victory at the expense of Spartan Missile and 54-year-old amateur rider John Thorne. The dramatic story was recreated in the film “Champions” and the signature tune is brought out every year for the great race.

In 1993, the Grand National made the headlines for all the wrong reasons when a series of catastrophic false starts resulted in several runners completing the course in vain. Esha Ness and jockey John White were the phantom “winners”, only realising that the race would be declared void when they had completed the course.

In 1997, the Grand National again faced disaster when two coded bomb threats were received from the Provisional IRA. The authorities had no choice but to evacuate the course, clearing 60,000 spectators. The local residents came to the aid of the unfortunate spectators, helping to accommodate them until they could reclaim their vehicles. The race was run 48 hours later on the Monday with victory going to Lord Gyllene and jockey Tony Dobbin.

Betting on the Grand National 2013

Ante-post or Futures betting on the Grand National begins as soon as the runners pass the post in the previous season. The race is such a unique event that horses who win or are placed in the event are automatically taken back the following year.

Although the Grand National may seem the last race you would choose for a risky ante-post investment, recent trends suggests that it is not necessarily so. Each year certain horses will have their entire season planned with the Grand National in mind. In 2011, Ballabriggs was trained exclusively for Aintree by Donald McCain in order to have him at his peak for the big race. He tried to repeat the achievement last year but had been reassessed by the handicapper and had to settle for an honourable sixth place.

In 2010 Don’t Push and Tony McCoy landed a massive gamble for punters. The race was his season-long target following a win in the John Smith’s Chase in 2009. His price collapsed under the weight of money on National day. Likewise, Comply or Die went into the race in 2008 with proven staying form and his price crashed to 7-1 favourite having been twice those adds only a few days previously.

Hedgehunter’s win in 2005 was another that could certainly have been predicted well before the race. The year before he had jumped well and looked certain to be placed until falling through tiredness. Ridden with more restraint by Ruby Walsh, he was always going easily and was eventually returned at odds of 7-1.

Of course form does not always guide you to the winner. In 2009, most punters were left scratching their heads when 100-1 shot Mon Mome sprinted clear on the run-in. Generally speaking, the National stands up as well as any other major race as a betting medium. By following the trials closely and taking note of the market you could find yourself holding some attractive ante-post vouchers on National day 2013.

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