The Grand National is the single biggest event in the calendar for horse-racing fans, with the historic race drawing crowds from not only all over the UK but all over the world.

Since its beginnings in the early 19th century, the Grand National has grown into an annual spectacle that’s watched by hundreds of millions on TV, all unable to take their eyes off of what many consider to be the pinnacle of horse-racing.

The question is, why does the Grand National continue to attract and captivate such huge audiences even into the modern era?

The Betting

Whether it’s fast-paced online games like Cashino slots or the old-fashioned way at a brick-and-mortar bookies, having a flutter is one of the most popular pastimes across the globe. The Grand National takes this to the next level with a vast array of horses and riders to choose from.

In the weeks leading up to the race, you’ll find online articles and pull-out guides in newspapers previewing the different horses, their form and their riders. It makes the process of backing one, or a few, a lot more exciting.

Some people have a strategy, while others choose based on the best horse names. You can go for the bookies’ favourite with shorter odds or pick a ‘dark horse’ at more like 50/1. When it comes to the Grand National, the truth is anyone can win – that’s what sets it apart in terms of betting.

The Drama

With the Grand National’s sheer size an attraction for some betting fans, most horse-racing enthusiasts will know that the revered event is well-regarded for its high level of competition and the drama that can unfold within the race itself.

Known as the world’s greatest steeplechase race, the horse and rider have to endure 4.5 miles of course with regular fences that participants must leap over a total of 30 times across the duration of the race.

The tallest of these fences, the chair, sits at 5 foot 3 inches and has been known to catch plenty of horses off guard and cause upsets and disruption to the already exciting affair.

This is the ultimate test that only the most skilled jockeys and the most well-trained horses will find success in, furthering adding to the Grand National’s reputation of being a high-quality sporting event.

The Culture

The Grand National is held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, with thousands attending the event held over a three-day period every April.

Many turn up not only to enjoy the races but also the vibrant social culture of the stands, with attendees adopting a collective dress code of smart and sharp, even though officially the Aintree Racecourse has no existing dress code.

The money that’s generated from the event – from betting and merchandise to food and drink – goes a long way to sustaining the course and the local community that’s so proud of it.

Many charities also benefit from the event, with the start of the 2021 Grand National set to mark NHS Day and thousands of tickets for local care workers. This all contributes to the overwhelming popularity of one of horse racing’s most famous events.