The Grand National is one of the most famous steeplechases in the world. It is a prominent part of the British culture and is popular even among those who don’t watch or bet on horse racing.
It is considered as the world’s most iconic horse race. Its history goes a long way back to the 1830s and it is the most valuable jump race in Europe. It is an ultimate test for both the rider and the horse who have to cover 4 miles and jump 30 fences. A maximum number of 40 horses can line up at the start of the race, and surprisingly only 40 percent become able to complete the race on average.
The amazing racing event is near now and will be held in April. Punters are already debating the prospects of all the leading contenders for the Grand National 2018. Blaklion is looking as a clear favorite now while Total Recall and Native River are also looking good.
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The first Official Grand National was held in 1839, although the race was first run in 1836. The real story of the Grand National goes a little further back to William Lynn, the proprietor of Waterloo Hotel. He was an entrepreneur and started the Waterloo Cup. Seeing the success of that event and due to his immence interest in racing, he decided to run a steeplechase at the Aintree course in 1936.
His race became an immediate success at that time and got very good coverage in the press as well. This first race was won by The Duke and the famous Captain Becher was his rider. The race was held again the following year and again The Duke won. However Captain Becher was not the rider this time because of his non-availability, instead it was Mr Potts. The race that year was named as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.
The next year’s race was also a success. Captain Becher was running The Duke again, however he was not the winner. There is some doubt after the real winner’s name, with some uncertainty whether the winner was Sir Henry or Sir William.
The race which was held in 1839 is known as the first Official Grand National, though the name was still the same Grand Liverpool Steeplechase at that time. Lottery is recorded as the first winner of the Grand National. The famous Captain Becher was again running in that race, however he fell at a fence that is now named after him.
After these early years, the great racing event in the UK has witnessed a great many changes. Its name was changed in 1839 to The Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase. While in 1847, it became The Grand National Handicap Steeplechase which holds to this day. Red Rum is the most popular horse of the Grand National who won it three times, in 1973, 1974 and 1977. It is estimated that about 500 to 600 million people watch the event in over 140 countries.