The historic Grand National is one of most hotly anticipated race days of the year. Not to mention one of the biggest betting events of the calendar. In fact, the Grand National is one of the biggest races in the world, with £250 million spent on bets in 2018.
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.
2. Slowest And Fastest Winner
Did you know the horse with the fastest time was non-other that Mr Frisk back in 1990? He completed the course in a staggering 8 minutes and 47.8 seconds.
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.
3. Oldest And Youngest Winner
Another fun fact 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.
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.
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.
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 16 female jockeys have entered the competition, with Katie Walsh most successful – coming third in 2012.
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 this year…?