Thursday 9 April 2015

Your Guide to the Grand National 2015

Love the Grand National?

Grand National Trivia

This historic handicap steeplechase is run over 4 mile 4 furlong at Aintree and sponsored by Crabbie's. It was first run in 1839. The Grand National is televised in 140 countries and viewed by an audience of 600 million. Horses jump 30 fences including Bechers' Brook, Foinavon, the Canal Turn &  The Chair over two grueling circuits. 

It is considered the ultimate test of horse & jockey. 

Did you know...

The Grand National is the most valuable National Hunt race in Britain. The prize money fund is guaranteed at £1,000,000. Take a look at the Grand National Runners 2015

Noted races include...

Tipperary Tim who won in 1928. Amazingly 41 of the 42 runners fell. William Dutton landed the odds at 100/1. This race still holds the record as the fewest number of finishers.

Foinavon proved that you sometimes you need a little bit of luck when winning in 1967. This 100/1 was lagging 100 yards behind the pack when a loose horse named Popham Down caused mayhem at the 23rd fence hampering or unseating most of the field. Foinavon had time to steer round the havoc and none of the opposition had time to catch him.

Red Rum is a true legend of this race winning three times in the 1970s. Trained by the late Ginger McCain, he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 & 1977. He finished second in 1975 & 1976. 

Few people will ever forget Bob Champion's win in 1981 aboard Aldantini. Two years before this race, Champion had been given only months to live after being diagnosed with cancer. Aldaniti had recovered from chronic leg problems but the pair went on to beat SpartanMissile by four and half lengths in an emotional victory. Their story was made into a film, Champions, starring John Hurt.

Grand National Records:

Fastest winning time: Mr Frisk (1990) 8 minute 48 seconds
Oldest winning horse: Peter Simple (1853) 15 years 
Youngest winning jockey: Bruce Hobbs (1938) 17 years old
Longest winning odds: 5 horses have won at 100/1
Largest field: (1929) 66 runners
Smallest field: (1883) 10 runners

Who will win this year?

The National always has its story to tell and with A P McCoy [pictured] retiring at the end of the season it comes as no surprise to see Shutthefrontdoor at 7/1. Favourites have often failed miserably in the big race. Trained by Jonjo O'Neill and owned by the legendary gambler J P McManus there's little doubt racing pundits will be heralding this gelding as the big story. 

Other major fancies include Rocky Creek 9/1 who has been in great form and last year's runner-up Balthazar King 10/1. 

If you are looking for a Cheltenham horse heading to Aintree then The Druids Nephew trained by Neil Mullholland could be your bag.   

For many punters last year's easy winner Pineau De Re is a hot tip. Dr Richard Newlands' charge is a similar weight and price at 25/1. Is this another Red Rum in the making? The betting would suggest not but if this gelding makes it two from two wins imagine the scene. At twelve years of age is it possible?  

With 40 runners there is always a chance of a huge priced horse winning. There have been 5 horses win the Grand National at odds of 100/1. The first being Tipping Tim (1928), while Mon Mone hit the target in 2009.  Could we have a 100/1 victory in 2015? One horse who has plenty of stamina is Bob Ford trained by Rebecca Curtis.    

The race which keeps a nation of hearts jumping.