10 Fun Grand National Facts
The historic Grand National is one of the most hotly anticipated race days of the year and 2022 will be no different. It is also one of the biggest betting events on the sporting calendar.
In fact, the Grand National is one of the biggest races in the world, with an estimated £250 million bet on it.
But how much do you know about the big day? There’s always room for more fun facts, right?
Keep reading for 10 facts about the Grand National you might not already know…
1. Growing Audience
It’s estimated the legendary race gains worldwide audiences of 600 million, and is shown in 140 countries in total.
There are also 70,000 fans making their way to Aintree each year to witness one of the biggest racing events in person. Over the course of the three days, over 150,000 people will attend the festival.
2. Slowest And Fastest Winner
Did you know the horse with the fastest time was non-other than Mr Frisk back in 1990? He completed the course in a staggering 8 minutes and 47.8 seconds.
The closest any horse has come to that winning time, since then, was Many Clouds in 2015 who won the race in 8m 56.8s.
The slowest winner in Grand National history was the first ever horse to win in 1839. Lottery won with a whopping 14 minutes and 53 seconds. These days the race generally last around 9 minutes.
3. Oldest And Youngest Winner
Another of our fun facts you may not know is the oldest jockey to win the race. Amateur Dick Saunders won aged 48, riding Grittar.
And the youngest winner of the Grand National? Bruce Hobbs, who was only 17 years old riding Battleship in 1938. More recently, David Mullins won the race at just 19 years old on Rule The World in 2016. It was also his first attempt at the race.
4. Amateur Winners
You don’t have to be a professional jockey to be a winner, as Mr Bretherton proved. He was the first successful amateur, riding Jerry in 1840. The last amateur to win the Grand National was Marcus Armytage, a journalist who won aboard Mr Frisk in 1990.
Since then Sam Waley-Cohen has come the closest to winning as an amateur. Over the Grand National course, he has an enviable record placing second on Oscar Time in 2011.
With six wins around the Grand National course, he is the most successful course jockey of the modern era.
5. Double Trouble
The only horse to ever win the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold cup in the same season was Golden Miller in 1934. Many have tried, but none have been able to match this racing champion.
6. Red Rum Recovery
Everyone’s knows about the infamous Red Rum, but did you know that this horse suffered from the debilitating bone disease, pedal osteitis?
To help the legendary horse, his trainer Ginger McCain took him for therapeutic swims in the sea at Southport.
7. Most Successful Jockey
The most successful winner in Grand National history was the jockey, George Stevens. With five wins under his belt – in 1856, 1863, 1864, 1869 and 1870 – it’s a feat that will certainly go down in history.
In the modern era of national hunt racing, Ruby Walsh, Davy Russell and Leighton Aspell have all won it twice.
8. First Female Jockey
The first female jockey to race in the Grand National was Charlotte Brew in 1977, riding Barony Fort with 200-1 odds.
Since then 19 female jockeys have entered the competition. Katie Walsh became the first female jockey to place in the race, finishing third on Seabass in 2012.
Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win in 2021 onboard Minella Times for owner JP McManus and trainer Henry De Bromhead.
9. The Chair
The most intimidating obstacle at the Grand National is said to be the famous fence, ‘The Chair’. Standing at 5 feet 3 inches, the jump has a 6-foot-wide ditch on the take-off side, creating a daunting moment for both jockeys and horses.
However, did you know the fence gets its name from its position alongside the seat that was once reserved for the distance judge?
10. The Trifecta
Dubbed ‘The greatest trainer of the 20th century’, Vincent O’Brien was the only handler to win the Grand National three years in a row from 1953 to 1955 with three different horses.
From the youngest, quickest and most successful the Grand National brings out the best of the best in the racing world.
The only question now is whether any new records will be set at the 2022 Grand National?
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