The Grand National is one of the most eagerly awaited horse racing events in the world, held annually in England. It is a handicap steeplechase – a distance of 4 miles 514 yards (or 7,249m) – with up to 40 horses competing. The race is renowned for its difficult fences, and its unpredictable nature, with a winner often coming from the most unlikely of contenders.
The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, and it is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a purse of £1 million. The race is an iconic event in the British sporting calendar, watched by millions of people around the world each year.
Runners for the Grand National
Each year, up to 40 horses are allowed to enter the Grand National, with the selection process beginning in December. The selection panel will consider the horses’ past performances, the quality of their training, the bookmakers’ odds, and the opinion of racing experts.
The Selection Process
The selection process begins in December, when the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) releases the list of potential runners. This list includes horses that have been entered for the race, as well as horses that have been nominated by trainers and owners. The BHA then reviews the list and narrows it down to 40 horses.
The Entry Requirements
In order to be eligible for the Grand National, a horse must be aged seven or older, have run in a minimum of three steeplechase races, and have an official rating of at least 135. The BHA also requires that each horse be free of any injuries and that its rider is a licensed jockey.
The Race Conditions
The Grand National is a handicap race, meaning that different weights are assigned to each horse based on its past performances. This is designed to level the playing field and give every horse a chance of victory.
The race is run over a distance of 4 miles 514 yards (or 7,249m), and is composed of 30 fences, of which 16 are jumped twice. The most famous of these fences is the Becher’s Brook, which has been known to cause falls even among the most experienced of jockeys.
Notable Runners for the Grand National
Over the years, there have been some remarkable horses that have competed in the Grand National. Here are some of the most famous:
- Red Rum is perhaps the most famous horse in the history of the Grand National, having won the race three times in 1973, 1974, and 1977.
- He also finished second twice, in 1975 and 1976, and he is the only horse to have ever won the National twice consecutively.
- Red Rum’s success in the Grand National made him an instant celebrity, and he was even given a ticker-tape parade in Liverpool after his third victory.
- Foinavon was an Irish-bred horse that won the 1967 Grand National in dramatic fashion.
- The race was marred by a chaotic start, as a loose horse caused a pile-up that saw many horses fall at the first fence.
- Foinavon, however, managed to avoid the chaos and went on to win the race by a staggering 25 lengths, becoming the longest-priced winner in Grand National history.
- Aurora’s Encore was an unexpected winner of the 2013 Grand National, having been priced at 66/1 at the start of the race.
- The horse was ridden by jockey Ryan Mania, who had only been called up to ride the horse the day before the race.
- The win was a remarkable upset, with Aurora’s Encore becoming the first Scottish-trained horse to win the Grand National in over 100 years.
The 2020 Grand National
The 2020 Grand National was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is expected to return in 2021.
The 2021 Grand National Runners
The 2021 Grand National runners have yet to be announced, but some of the potential runners include:
- Cloth Cap, a 9-year-old trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by jockey Tom Scudamore.
- Native River, an 8-year-old trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by jockey Richard Johnson.
- Tiger Roll, a 9-year-old trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by jockey Keith Donoghue.
- Minella Indo, a 6-year-old trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by jockey Rachael Blackmore.
- Burrows Saint, a 7-year-old trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by jockey Paul Townend.
The Favourite to Win the 2021 Grand National
The favourite to win the 2021 Grand National is Tiger Roll, the two-time Grand National winner. He is the shortest-priced favourite since Red Rum in 1975, and is expected to be well supported by punters.
The 2021 Grand National will be one of the most eagerly anticipated horse races in recent years, and the competition is sure to be fierce. With up to 40 horses competing and a purse of £1 million, the race is sure to be thrilling.
The list of potential runners for the 2021 Grand National is yet to be announced, but some of the favourites include Cloth Cap, Native River, Tiger Roll, Minella Indo, and Burrows Saint. The favourite to win the race is Tiger Roll, the two-time Grand National winner.
No matter who wins the 2021 Grand National, it is sure to be a memorable race.