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Grand National

Grade 3 race
Grand National
A Grand National Impression (1926)
Location Aintree Racecourse
Liverpool, England
Race type Chase
Sponsor John Smith's
Website Aintree
Race information
Distance 4m 4f (7,242 metres)
Track Turf, left-handed
Qualification Six-years-old and up
rated 110+ by BHB
Weight Handicap
Maximum: 11 st 10 lb
Purse £925,000 (2010) [1]
1st: £521,053

The Grand National is a world famous National Hunt horse race which is held at Aintree in the United Kingdom. It is a handicap chase containing thirty fences which is run over a distance of 4 miles and 856 yards (7¼ km approx.).[2] It is presently scheduled to take place each year on a Saturday afternoon in early April.

It is the most valuable National Hunt event in Great Britain, and in 2010 it offered a total prize fund of £925,000.[3] The race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.[4]

The race is run over two circuits of Aintree's National Course, which is triangular in shape and on which there are sixteen fences.[2] All, except The Chair and the Water-Jump, are jumped twice. Some fences are notorious for their severity, particularly Becher's Brook[5] and The Chair, although in recent years Aintree authorities have worked in conjunction with animal welfare organisations to minimise the danger of the jumps while still preserving them as formidable obstacles.[6][7] The Grand National is the centrepiece of a three-day meeting, one of only four run at Aintree in the racing season.[8]

It is one of ten events reserved for live broadcast on UK terrestrial television under the ITC Code on Sports and Other Listed Events. It is estimated that the Grand National is watched worldwide by over 600 million viewers.[9]

The most recent running of the race took place on April 10, 2010, and was won by Tony McCoy and Don't Push It for trainer Jonjo O'Neill and owner J P McManus.



Becher's Brook, 1890, engraving of horses jumping the famous fence in the Grand National steeplechase at Aintree

The event was founded by William Philip Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton, on land he owned at Aintree. There is much debate among historians regarding the first official race held, the majority of leading published historians, such as John Pinfold, now prefer the idea that the first running was in 1836 and was won by The Duke.[10] This same horse triumphed again in 1837,[11] while Sir William was the winner in 1838. These races have long been disregarded because of the belief that the 1836 - 1838 runnings took place at Maghull and not Aintree. In the last twenty years, several race historians have unearthed evidence that these three races were all run over the same course at Aintree and were regarded as having been Grand Nationals up until the mid 1860s.[10] To date though, calls for the Nationals of 1836 - 1838 to be restored to the record books have been unsuccessful.

During 1838 and 1839 three major events occurred to transform the Liverpool race from a small local affair to a national event. Firstly, The Great St Albans Chase, which had clashed with the race at Aintree, was not renewed after 1838, this left a major hole in the chasing calendar. Secondly, the railway arrived in Liverpool, which made transport to the course by rail a possibility for the first time. And thirdly, a committee was formed to better organise the event. These factors led to a more highly publicised race in 1839 which attracted a larger field of top quality horses and riders, greater press coverage and an increased attendance on the day. Over time the first three runnings of the event were quickly forgotten to secure the 1839 race its place in history as the first official running of the race. It was won by the aptly named horse, Lottery, ridden by Jem Mason.

For three years during the First World War, while Aintree racecourse was closed, an alternative race was run at Gatwick Racecourse, on the site of the present Gatwick Airport. The first of these races, in 1916, was called the Racecourse Association Steeplechase, and in the following two years the race was known as the War National Steeplechase. The races at Gatwick are not always recognised as "Grand Nationals" and their results are often omitted from winners' lists.

During the 1950s the Grand National was dominated by Vincent O'Brien who trained the winner of the race for three consecutive years between 1953 and 1955. Early Mist won the race in 1953 with Royal Tan winning in 1954 and the hat-trick of victories for the Irish trainer was completed by Quare Times in 1955.

The 1967 running saw a major incident when most of the field were dismounted allowing the rank outsider Foinavon to become a surprise winner at odds of 100/1. At the 23rd fence a loose horse from the 1st fence, Popham Down, suddenly veered across the leading group causing them to either stop, refuse or unseat their riders. Racing journalist Baron Oaksey described the resulting pile-up by saying that Popham Down had “cut down the leaders like a row of thistles”.[12] Some horses even started running in the wrong direction. Foinavon had been lagging some hundred yards behind the leading pack, this gave his jockey, Johnny Buckingham, time to steer his mount wide of the melee and make a clean jump of the fence on the outside. Although 17 jockeys remounted and made up considerable ground, especially Honey End, the 15-2 favourite, none had time to catch Foinavon before he crossed the finishing line. The 23rd fence has since been named The Foinavon Fence.[13][14]

By far the most successful horse in Grand National history was Red Rum, the only horse to win three times, in 1973, 1974, and in 1977. He also came in second in the two intervening years, 1975 and 1976. In 1973, he beat the champion Crisp who had to carry 12 stone, in what is arguably the most memorable Grand National of all time.[15]

In 1993, the result of the race was declared void after a series of incidents at the start meant the starting tape failed to rise correctly, causing several horses and jockeys to be caught up in it. A false start was declared, but lack of communication between course officials meant that 30 out of the 39 jockeys did not realise this and started to race. Course officials tried to stop the horses by waving red flags next to The Chair at the end of the first circuit. However, many jockeys thought that these people were protesters and so continued to race. Peter Scudamore stopped only because he saw his usual trainer Martin Pipe waving frantically at him. Seven horses ran the course in its entirety, forcing a void result. The first past the post of the horses that ran was Esha Ness, ridden by John White and trained by Jenny Pitman.

In 1997, the Saturday meeting was abandoned after two coded bomb threats were received, reportedly from the IRA. 60,000 spectators, jockeys, race personnel and local residents were evacuated, and the course was secured by police. The race was eventually run on the Monday, with the meeting organisers offering free admission. Some 20,000 people were left stranded over the weekend, with cars and coaches locked in the course. With limited accommodation in the city and surrounding areas, local residents opened their doors and took in many of those stranded.

Many well known jockeys have failed to win the Grand National. These include champion jockeys such as Terry Biddlecombe, John Francome, Josh Gifford, Stan Mellor, Jonjo O'Neill (who never finished the race), Fred Rimell and Peter Scudamore. More recently Richard Johnson and Adrian Maguire have failed to win the race. Three jockeys who led over the last fence in the National and just lost the race on the run-in ended up as TV racing pundits. These were Lord Oaksey on Carrickbeg in 1963, Norman Williamson on Mely Moss in 2000, and Richard Pitman on Crisp in 1973. The same fate occurred to Pitman's son Mark on Garrison Savannah in 1991.

Thirteen mares have won the race: Charity (1841), Miss Mowbray (1852), Anatis (1860), Jealousy (1861), Emblem (1863), Emblematic (1864), Casse Tete (1872), Empress (1880), Zoedone (1883), Frigate (1889), Shannon Lass (1902), Sheila's Cottage (1948) and Nickel Coin (1951).

The course

The Big Raspers At Aintree, 1927 painting of an incident at the Grand National

The Grand National has always been run over the same course at Aintree near Liverpool and consists of two circuits of sixteen fences, the first fourteen of which are jumped twice. The race is also notable for having arguably one of the longest runs from the final flight of any steeplechase.

The Grand National was designed as a cross country steeplechase when it was first officially run in 1839. The runners started at a lane on the edge of the racecourse and raced away from the course out over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The gates, hedges and ditches that they met along the way were flagged to provide them with the obstacles to be jumped along the way with posts and rails erected at the two points where the runners jumped a brook. The runners returned towards the racecourse by running along the edge of the canal before re-entering the course at the opposite end. The runners then ran the length of the racecourse before embarking on a second circuit before finishing in front of the stands. The majority of the race therefore took place not on the actual Aintree Racecourse but instead in the adjoining countryside. That countryside was incorporated into the modern course but commentators still refer to it as the country, much to the confusion of the millions of 'once a year' non racing viewers.

There are sixteen fences on the Grand National course, many carrying names from the history of the race.

The first two fences are plain obstacles 4 ft 7in high but the first is often met at great speed, which leads to several falls, the highest being twelve runners in 1951. Prior to 1888 the first two fences were located approximately halfway between the first to second and second to third jumps. The second of these became known as the Fan, after a mare who refused the obstacle three years in succession. The name fell out of favour with the relocation of the fences.

Fence three is a 5 ft high fronted by a 6 ft ditch and is called Westhead (after a former groundskeeper), though there is no direct reference to the history of the race in its name. Many modern jockeys regard this as the severest obstacle on the course.

Fences four and five are 4 ft and 5 ft respectively. All five fences lead in a straight line to Becher's Brook, arguably the most famous obstacle on the course. Prior to 1888 it was usually the fifth fence but today is the sixth and is marked on the approach by a small hedge along the inner rail. The drop at the brook is 6 ft 9in which catches the runners by surprise when they jump. The fence has always been a popular vantage point as it presents the most spectacular display of jumping when the horse and rider meet the fence right. The fence takes its name from Captain Martin Becher who fell there in the 1839 race.

Fence seven is the smallest on the course at just 4 ft 6in and is named after the 1967 winner, Foinavon who avoided a melee at the fence to win the race at 100/1. The fence officially became Foinavon's in 1984.

Fence eight is the Canal Turn, noted for its sharp 90 degree turn after the fence. Before the First World War it was not uncommon for loose horses to continue straight after the jump and a few ended up jumping into the canal itself. There was also once a ditch before the fence but this was filled in after a melee in the 1928 race.

Fence nine was originally known as the Second Brook but was renamed Valentine's Brook after the horse of the same name who is reputed to have jumped the fence hind legs first in 1840. The fence itself is 5 ft high and was once as famed, popular and indeed fearsome as its more famous sister brook. A stand was erected alongside the fence in the early part of the 20th century but fell into decline after the Second World War and was torn down in the 1970s.

Fence ten is a 5 ft plain fence that leads the runners alongside the canal towards two ditches, fences eleven and twelve. The first is named the Booth and is 5 ft high with a 6 ft ditch on the take off side. The second is also 5 ft high, though its ditch is on the landing side.

The runners then cross the Melling Road again near to the Anchor Bridge, a popular vantage point since the earliest days of the race. This also marks the point where the runners are said to be re-entering the racecourse proper. In the early days of the race it was thought there was an obstacle near this point known as the Table Jump, which may have resembled a bank similar to those still seen at Punchestown in Ireland. In the 1840s Melling Road was also flanked by hedges and the runners had to jump into the road and then back out of it.

Back on the racecourse the runners are met with two regulation fences of 4 ft 7in, which come at a point when the survivors are in a rhythm and thus rarely cause problems. The latter of these is the final flight on the second circuit and has often seen very tired horses fall here. Many final fence fallers have been recorded in newsreels and latter on television as staying down, suggesting to viewers that the horse may be injured but to date no equine fatality has been recorded at this fence.

Fence fifteen is known as the Chair as it is the location where the distance judge sat in the earliest days of the race. On the second circuit he would record the finishing order from his position and declare any horse that had not reached him by the time the previous runner passed the finish as distanced, meaning a non finisher. The practise was done away with in the 1850s but the monument where the chair stood is still there. The fence was the scene of the only human fatality in the race in 1862 when Joe Wynne died of injuries sustained in a fall here. as a result a 6 ft ditch was placed in front of the 5 ft 3in fence to slow the runners down. The fence was originally known as the Monument Jump but the Chair came into more regular use in the 1930s. Today it is one of the most popular jumps on the course for spectators.

Fence sixteen is the Water Jump, which replaced a stone wall which featured in the very early Nationals. The water was until recently one of the most popular jumps on the course, presenting a great jumping spectacle for those in the stands and was always a major feature in the newsreels' coverage of the race. As the newsreels made way for television in the 1960s so in turn did the Water Jump fall under the shadow of its neighbour, the Chair in popularity as an obstacle. both the Chair and the Water are only jumped once as the finishing straight runs alongside.


Most successful horse (3 wins):

  • Red Rum1973, 1974, 1977 (also finished second in 1975 and 1976)

Leading jockey (5 wins):

  • George Stevens – Freetrader (1856), Emblem (1863), Emblematic (1864), The Colonel (1869, 1870)

Leading trainer (4 wins):

  • George Dockeray - Lottery (1839), Jerry (1840), Gaylad (1842), Miss Mowbray (1852)
  • Fred Rimell – E.S.B. (1956), Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970), Rag Trade (1976)
  • Ginger McCainRed Rum (1973, 1974, 1977), Amberleigh House (2004)

Leading owner (3 wins):

  • James Machell – Disturbance (1873), Reugny (1874), Regal (1876)
  • Noel Le Mare – Red Rum (1973, 1974, 1977)

  • Fastest winning time – 8 mins 47.8 secs, Mr Frisk (1990) [16]
  • Youngest winning horse – Alcibiade (1865), Regal (1876), Austerlitz (1877), Empress (1880), Lutteur III (1909), all aged 5
  • Oldest winning jockey – Dick Saunders, aged 48 (1982)
  • Youngest winning jockeyBruce Hobbs, aged 17 (1938)
  • Longest odds winner – Tipperary Tim (1928), Gregalach (1929), Caughoo (1947), Foinavon (1967), Mon Mome (2009), all 100/1
  • Shortest odds winner – Poethlyn (1919), 11/4
  • Largest field – 66 runners (1929)
  • Smallest field – 10 runners (1883)
  • Most horses to finish – 23 (1984)
  • Fewest horses to finish – 2 (1928)
  • Most rides without winning - 15 Jeff King 1964-1980


Aintree publish a roll of honour in their race cards each year and is based on a list complied largely from the fading memories of aging racing enthusiasts sometime around 1880-1890. By their own admission Aintree agree that their honours record prior to 1860 is notoriously inaccurate therefore the British Horseracing Board's records taken from the press accounts of the time have been used as a more reliable source for the connections of winners prior to 1860.

  • Weights given in stones and pounds.
  • Amateur jockeys indicated by a title, e.g. "Mr", "Capt.", "Lord" etc.

1836 1836–38 see below
1839 Lottery 9 12-00 Jem Mason George Dockeray John Elmore 005.005/1 F
1840 Jerry 10 12-00 Mr B. Bretherton George Dockeray Henry Villebois 012.0012/1
1841 Charity 11 12-00 Mr A. Powell William Vevers Lord Craven 014.0014/1
1842 Gay Lad 8 12-00 Tom Olliver George Dockeray John Elmore 007.007/1
1843 Vanguard 8 11-10 Tom Olliver see note below [a] Lord Chesterfield 012.0012/1
1844 Discount 6 10-12 Mr John Crickmere not recorded Mr Quartermaine 005.005/1 JF
1845 Cure-All 11-05 Mr William Loft Kitty Crisp W. S. Crawford
1846 Pioneer 6 11-12 William Taylor not known Mr Adams
1847 Mathew 9 10-06 Denny Wynne John Murphy John Courtenay 010.0010/1
1848 Chandler 12 11-12 Capt. Josey Little [17] Tom Eskrett Josey Little 012.0012/1
1849 Peter Simple 11 11-00 Tom Cunningham T. Cunningham Finch Mason, Jr. 020.0020/1
1850 Abd-El-Kader 8 09-12 Chris Green Joseph Osborne Joseph Osborne
1851 Abd-El-Kader 9 10-04 T. Abbott Joseph Osborne Joseph Osborne 007.007/1
1852 Miss Mowbray 10-04 Mr Alec Goodman George Dockeray T. F. Mason
1853 Peter Simple 15 10-10 Tom Olliver Tom Olliver Josey Little 009.009/1
1854 Bourton 11-12 John Tasker Henry Wadlow William Moseley 004.004/1 F
1855 Wanderer 09-08 John Hanlon not known Mr Dunn 025.0025/1
1856 Freetrader 7 09-06 George Stevens William Holman W. Barnett 025.0025/1
1857 Emigrant 11 09-10 Charlie Boyce Charlie Boyce George Hodgman 010.0010/1
1858 Little Charley 10 10-07 William Archer William Holman Christopher Capel 016.67100/6
1859 Half Caste 6 09-07 Chris Green Chris Green Mr Willoughby 007.007/1
1860 Anatis 10 09-10 Mr Tommy Pickernell H. E. May Christopher Capel 003.507/2 F
1861 Jealousy 7 09-12 Joseph Kendall Charles Balchin J. Bennett 005.005/1
1862 Huntsman 9 11-00 Harry Lamplugh Harry Lamplugh Viscount de Namur 003.003/1 F
1863 Emblem 7 10-10 George Stevens Edwin Weever Lord Coventry 004.004/1
1864 Emblematic 6 10-06 George Stevens Edwin Weever Lord Coventry 010.0010/1
1865 Alcibiade 5 11-04 Capt. Henry Coventry Cornell Cherry Angell 014.29100/7
1866 Salamander 7 10-07 Mr Alec Goodman J. Walters Edward Studd 040.0040/1
1867 Cortolvin 8 11-13 John Page Harry Lamplugh Duke of Hamilton 016.0016/1
1868 The Lamb 6 10-07 Mr George Ede Ben Land Lord Poulett 009.009/1
1869 The Colonel 6 10-07 George Stevens R. Roberts John Weyman 014.29100/7
1870 The Colonel 7 11-12 George Stevens R. Roberts Matthew Evans 003.507/2 F
1871 The Lamb 9 11-05 Mr Tommy Pickernell Chris Green Lord Poulett 005.5011/2
1872 Casse Tete 7 10-00 John Page A. Cowley E. Brayley 020.0020/1
1873 Disturbance 6 11-11 Mr J. M. Richardson James Machell James Machell 020.0020/1
1874 Reugny 6 10-12 Mr J. M. Richardson James Machell James Machell 005.005/1 F
1875 Pathfinder 8 10-11 Mr Tommy Pickernell W. Reeves Hubert Bird 016.67100/6
1876 Regal 5 11-03 Joe Cannon James Jewitt James Machell 025.0025/1
1877 Austerlitz 5 10-08 Mr Fred Hobson Robert I'Anson Fred Hobson 015.0015/1
1878 Shifnal 9 10-12 J. Jones John Nightingall John Nightingall 007.007/1
1879 The Liberator 10 11-04 Mr Garrett Moore J. Moore Garrett Moore 005.005/1
1880 Empress 5 10-07 Mr Tommy Beasley Henry Linde Pierre Ducrot 008.008/1
1881 Woodbrook 7 11-03 Mr Tommy Beasley Henry Linde T. Kirkwood 005.5011/2 JF
1882 Seaman 6 11-06 Lord Manners J. Machell / J. Jewitt Lord Manners 010.0010/1
1883 Zoedone 6 11-00 Count Karel Kinsky W. Jenkins Count Karel Kinsky 014.29100/7
1884 Voluptuary 6 10-05 Mr Ted Wilson William Wilson H. F. Boyd 010.0010/1
1885 Roquefort 6 11-00 Mr Ted Wilson Arthur Yates Arthur Cooper 003.3310/3 F
1886 Old Joe 7 10-09 Tommy Skelton George Mulcaster A. J. Douglas 025.0025/1
1887 Gamecock 8 11-00 Bill Daniels James Gordon E. Jay 020.0020/1
1888 Playfair 7 10-07 George Mawson Tom Cannon Ned Baird 040.0040/1
1889 Frigate 11 11-04 Mr Tommy Beasley M. A. Maher Mat Maher 008.008/1
1890 Ilex 6 10-05 Arthur Nightingall John Nightingall George Masterman 004.004/1 F
1891 Come Away 7 11-12 Mr Harry Beasley Harry Beasley Willie Jameson 004.004/1 F
1892 Father O'Flynn 7 10-05 Capt. Roddy Owen Gordon Wilson Gordon Wilson 020.0020/1
1893 Cloister 9 12-07 Bill Dollery Arthur Yates Charles Duff 004.509/2 F
1894 Why Not 13 11-13 Arthur Nightingall Willie Moore C. H. Fenwick 005.005/1 JF
1895 Wild Man From Borneo 7 10-11 Mr Joe Widger James Gatland John Widger 010.0010/1
1896 The Soarer 7 09-13 Lt David Campbell Willie Moore William Hall Walker 040.0040/1
1897 Manifesto 9 11-03 Terry Kavanagh Willie McAuliffe Harry Dyas 006.006/1 F
1898 Drogheda 6 10-12 John Gourley Dick Dawson C. G. M. Adams 025.0025/1
1899 Manifesto 11 12-07 George Williamson Willie Moore John Bulteel 005.005/1
1900 Ambush II 6 11-03 Algy Anthony Algy Anthony HRH Prince of Wales 004.004/1
1901 Grudon 11 10-00 Arthur Nightingall Bernard Bletsoe Bernard Bletsoe 009.009/1
1902 Shannon Lass 7 10-01 David Read James Hackett Ambrose Gorham 020.0020/1
1903 Drumcree 9 11-03 Percy Woodland Sir Charles Nugent John Morrison 006.5013/2 F
1904 Moifaa 8 10-07 Arthur Birch W. Hickey Spencer Gollan 025.0025/1
1905 Kirkland 9 11-05 Frank Mason E. Thomas Frank Bibby 006.006/1
1906 Ascetic's Silver 9 10-09 Mr Aubrey Hastings Aubrey Hastings Prince F. Hatzfeldt 020.0020/1
1907 Eremon 7 10-01 Alf Newey Tom Coulthwaite Stanley Howard 008.008/1
1908 Rubio 10 10-05 Henry Bletsoe Fred Withington F. Douglas-Pennant 066.0066/1
1909 Lutteur III 5 10-11 Georges Parfrement Harry Escott James Hennessy 011.11100/9
1910 Jenkinstown 9 10-05 Robert Chadwick Tom Coulthwaite Stanley Howard 012.50100/8
1911 Glenside 9 10-03 Mr Jack Anthony R. H. Collis Frank Bibby 020.0020/1
1912 Jerry M 9 12-07 Ernie Piggott Robert Gore Sir C. Assheton-Smith 004.004/1 JF
1913 Covertcoat 7 11-06 Percy Woodland Robert Gore Sir C. Assheton-Smith 011.11100/9
1914 Sunloch 8 09-07 Bill Smith Tom Tyler Tom Tyler 016.67100/6
1915 Ally Sloper 6 10-06 Mr Jack Anthony Aubrey Hastings Lady Nelson 012.50100/8
1916 1916–18 see below
1919 Poethlyn 9 12-07 Ernie Piggott Harry Escott Gwladys Peel 002.7511/4 F
1920 Troytown 7 11-09 Mr Jack Anthony Algy Anthony T. Collins-Gerrard 006.006/1
1921 Shaun Spadah 10 11-07 Fred Rees George Poole Malcolm McAlpine 011.11100/9
1922 Music Hall 9 11-08 Lewis Rees Owen Anthony Hugh Kershaw 011.11100/9
1923 Sergeant Murphy 13 11-03 Capt. Tuppy Bennett George Blackwell Stephen Sanford 016.67100/6
1924 Master Robert 11 10-05 Bob Trudgill Aubrey Hastings Lord Airlie 025.0025/1
1925 Double Chance 9 10-09 Maj. John Wilson Fred Archer, Jr. David Goold 011.11100/9
1926 Jack Horner 9 10-05 William Watkinson Harvey Leader Charles Schwartz 025.0025/1
1927 Sprig 10 12-04 Ted Leader Tom Leader Mary Partridge 008.008/1 F
1928 Tipperary Tim 10 10-00 Mr Bill Dutton Joseph Dodd Harold Kenyon 100.00100/1
1929 Gregalach 7 11-04 Robert Everett Tom Leader Margaret Gemmell 100.00100/1
1930 Shaun Goilin 10 11-07 Tommy Cullinan Frank Hartigan Walter Midwood 012.50100/8
1931 Grakle 9 11-07 Bob Lyall Tom Coulthwaite Cecil Taylor 016.67100/6
1932 Forbra 7 10-07 Tim Hamey Tom Rimell William Parsonage 050.0050/1
1933 Kellsboro Jack 7 11-09 Dudley Williams Ivor Anthony Mrs F. Ambrose Clark 025.0025/1
1934 Golden Miller 7 12-02 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget 008.008/1
1935 Reynoldstown 8 11-04 Mr Frank Furlong Noel Furlong Noel Furlong 022.0022/1
1936 Reynoldstown 9 12-02 Mr Fulke Walwyn Noel Furlong Noel Furlong 010.0010/1
1937 Royal Mail 8 11-13 Evan Williams Ivor Anthony Hugh Lloyd Thomas 016.67100/6
1938 Battleship 11 11-06 Bruce Hobbs Reg Hobbs Marion Scott 040.0040/1
1939 Workman 9 10-06 Tim Hyde Jack Ruttle Sir Alexander Maguire 012.50100/8
1940 Bogskar 7 10-04 Mervyn Jones Lord Stalbridge Lord Stalbridge 025.0025/1
1941 1941–45 no race [b]
1946 Lovely Cottage 9 10-08 Capt. Bobby Petre Tommy Rayson John Morant 025.0025/1
1947 Caughoo 8 10-00 Eddie Dempsey Herbert McDowell John McDowell 100.00100/1
1948 Sheila's Cottage 9 10-07 Arthur Thompson Neville Crump John Procter 050.0050/1
1949 Russian Hero 9 10-08 Leo McMorrow George Owen Fearnie Williamson 066.0066/1
1950 Freebooter 9 11-11 Jimmy Power Bobby Renton Lurline Brotherton 010.0010/1
1951 Nickel Coin 9 10-01 John Bullock Jack O'Donoghue Jeffrey Royle 040.0040/1
1952 Teal 10 10-12 Arthur Thompson Neville Crump Harry Lane 014.29100/7
1953 Early Mist 8 11-02 Bryan Marshall Vincent O'Brien Joe Griffin 020.0020/1
1954 Royal Tan 10 11-07 Bryan Marshall Vincent O'Brien Joe Griffin 008.008/1
1955 Quare Times 9 11-00 Pat Taaffe Vincent O'Brien Cecily Welman 011.11100/9
1956 E.S.B. 10 11-03 Dave Dick Fred Rimell Mrs Leonard Carver 014.29100/7
1957 Sundew 11 11-07 Fred Winter Frank Hudson Mrs Geoffrey Kohn 020.0020/1
1958 Mr What 8 10-06 Arthur Freeman Tom Taaffe David J. Coughlan 018.0018/1
1959 Oxo 8 10-13 Michael Scudamore Willie Stephenson John Bigg 008.008/1
1960 Merryman II 9 10-12 Gerry Scott Neville Crump Winifred Wallace 006.5013/2 F
1961 Nicolaus Silver 9 10-01 Bobby Beasley Fred Rimell Charles Vaughan 028.0028/1
1962 Kilmore 12 10-04 Fred Winter Ryan Price Nat Cohen 028.0028/1
1963 Ayala 9 10-00 Pat Buckley Keith Piggott Pierre Raymond 066.0066/1
1964 Team Spirit 12 10-03 Willie Robinson Fulke Walwyn John Goodman 018.0018/1
1965 Jay Trump 8 11-05 Mr Tommy Smith Fred Winter Mary Stephenson 016.67100/6
1966 Anglo 8 10-00 Tim Norman Fred Winter Stuart Levy 050.0050/1
1967 Foinavon 9 10-00 John Buckingham John Kempton Cyril Watkins 100.00100/1
1968 Red Alligator 9 10-00 Brian Fletcher Denys Smith John Manners 014.29100/7
1969 Highland Wedding 12 10-04 Eddie Harty Toby Balding Thomas McCoy, Jr. 011.11100/9
1970 Gay Trip 8 11-05 Pat Taaffe Fred Rimell Tony Chambers 015.0015/1
1971 Specify 9 10-13 John Cook John Sutcliffe Fred Pontin 028.0028/1
1972 Well to Do 9 10-01 Graham Thorner Tim Forster Tim Forster 014.0014/1
1973 Red Rum 8 10-05 Brian Fletcher Ginger McCain Noel Le Mare 009.009/1 JF
1974 Red Rum 9 12-00 Brian Fletcher Ginger McCain Noel Le Mare 011.0011/1
1975 L'Escargot 12 11-03 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore Raymond Guest 006.5013/2
1976 Rag Trade 10 10-12 John Burke Fred Rimell Pierre Raymond 014.0014/1
1977 Red Rum 12 11-08 Tommy Stack Ginger McCain Noel Le Mare 009.009/1
1978 Lucius 9 10-09 Bob Davies G. W. Richards Fiona Whitaker 014.0014/1
1979 Rubstic 10 10-00 Maurice Barnes John Leadbetter John Douglas 025.0025/1
1980 Ben Nevis 12 10-12 Mr Charlie Fenwick Tim Forster R. C. Stewart, Jr. 040.0040/1
1981 Aldaniti 11 10-13 Bob Champion Josh Gifford Nick Embiricos 010.0010/1
1982 Grittar 9 11-05 Mr Dick Saunders Frank Gilman Frank Gilman 007.007/1 F
1983 Corbiere 8 11-04 Ben de Haan Jenny Pitman Bryan Burrough 013.0013/1
1984 Hallo Dandy 10 10-02 Neale Doughty G. W. Richards Richard Shaw 013.0013/1
1985 Last Suspect 11 10-05 Hywel Davies Tim Forster Duch. of Westminster 050.0050/1
1986 West Tip 9 10-11 Richard Dunwoody Michael Oliver Peter Luff 007.5015/2
1987 Maori Venture 11 10-13 Steve Knight Andrew Turnell Jim Joel 028.0028/1
1988 Rhyme 'n' Reason 9 11-00 Brendan Powell David Elsworth Juliet Reed 010.0010/1
1989 Little Polveir 12 10-03 Jimmy Frost Toby Balding Edward Harvey 028.0028/1
1990 Mr Frisk 11 10-06 Mr Marcus Armytage Kim Bailey Lois Duffey 016.0016/1
1991 Seagram 11 10-06 Nigel Hawke David Barons Sir Eric Parker 012.0012/1
1992 Party Politics 8 10-07 Carl Llewellyn Nick Gaselee Patricia Thompson 014.0014/1
1993 race void [c]
1994 Miinnehoma 11 10-08 Richard Dunwoody Martin Pipe Freddie Starr 016.0016/1
1995 Royal Athlete 12 10-06 Jason Titley Jenny Pitman G. & L. Johnson 040.0040/1
1996 Rough Quest 10 10-07 Mick Fitzgerald Terry Casey Andrew Wates 007.007/1 F
1997 Lord Gyllene 9 10-00 Tony Dobbin Steve Brookshaw Stan Clarke 014.0014/1
1998 Earth Summit 10 10-05 Carl Llewellyn N. Twiston-Davies Summit Partnership 007.007/1 F
1999 Bobbyjo 9 10-00 Paul Carberry Tommy Carberry Bobby Burke 010.0010/1
2000 Papillon 9 10-12 Ruby Walsh Ted Walsh Mrs J. Maxwell Moran 010.0010/1
2001 Red Marauder 11 10-11 Richard Guest Norman Mason Norman Mason 033.0033/1
2002 Bindaree 8 10-04 Jim Culloty N. Twiston-Davies Raymond Mould 020.0020/1
2003 Monty's Pass 10 10-07 Barry Geraghty Jimmy Mangan Dee Racing Syndicate 016.0016/1
2004 Amberleigh House 12 10-10 Graham Lee Ginger McCain Halewood Int. Ltd 016.0016/1
2005 Hedgehunter 9 11-01 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins Trevor Hemmings 007.007/1 F
2006 Numbersixvalverde 10 10-08 Niall Madden Martin Brassil Bernard Carroll 011.0011/1
2007 Silver Birch 10 10-06 Robbie Power Gordon Elliott Brian Walsh 033.0033/1
2008 Comply or Die 9 10-09 Timmy Murphy David Pipe David Johnson 007.007/1 JF
2009 Mon Mome 9 11-00 Liam Treadwell Venetia Williams Vida Bingham 100.00100/1
2010 Don't Push It 10 11-05 Tony McCoy Jonjo O'Neill J. P. McManus 10.0010/1 JF

a The 1843 winner Vanguard was trained at Lord Chesterfield's private stables at Bretby Hall
b The race was abandoned from 1941 to 1945 because of World War II
c The 1993 running was declared void because some of the horses failed to be called back after a false start

Unofficial winners


The first official running of the "Grand National" is now considered to be the 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase. There had been a similar race for several years prior to this, but its status as an official Grand National was revoked some time between 1862 and 1873.







1836 The Duke 7 Capt. Martin Becher Mr Sirdefield
1837 The Duke 8 Henry Potts Mr Sirdefield
1838 Sir William 7 12-07 Alan McDonough Mr Thompson


For three years during World War I, the Grand National could not be run at Aintree, and so a substitute event was held at another racecourse, Gatwick. This venue is now defunct, and it is presently the site of Gatwick Airport. The course was modified to make it similar to Aintree, and the races were contested over the same distance, with one less fence to be jumped. The 1916 running was titled the Racecourse Association Steeplechase, and for the next two years it was known as the War National.







1916 Vermouth 6 11-10 Jack Reardon J. Bell P. F. Heybourne
1917 Ballymacad 10 09-12 Edmund Driscoll Aubrey Hastings Sir George Bullough
1918 Poethlyn 8 11-06 Ernie Piggott Harry Escott Gwladys Peel


When the concept of the Grand National was first envisaged it was designed as a race for gentlemen riders, meaning men who were not paid to compete and while this was written into the conditions of the early races many of the riders who weighed out for the 1839 race were professionals for hire. Throughout the Victorian era the line between the amateur and professional sportsman existed only in terms of the rider's status and the engagement of an amateur to ride in the race was rarely considered a handicap to a contender's chances with many good quality gentleman riders winning the race prior to the First World War. Although the number of amateurs remained high between the wars their ability to match strides with their professional counterparts gradually receded and after the Second World War it became rare for any more than four or five amateurs to take part in any given year, despite many fine performances from amateur riders, including some victories before the turn of the century. By the 21st Century openings for amateur riders had become very rare with some years passing with no amateur riders at all taking part. Those that do in the modern era are most usually talented up and coming young riders who are often close to turning professional. In the past such amateur riders would have been joined by army officers, such as David Campbell who won in 1896, and sporting aristocrats, farmers or local huntsmen and point to point riders, usually opting to ride their own mounts but all these genres of rider have faded out in the last quarter of a century with no riders of military rank or aristocratic title having taken a mount since 1982.

Since Aintree lifted it's ban on female riders in time for the 1977 race their openings have been few and far between and, until the turn of the 21st Century, largely on outsiders with little chance of winning. The new century has not seen an increase in opportunities for female riders but it has seen them gain rides on mounts considered to have a genuine chance of winning. Indeed to date no woman given a ride on a mount priced at 20/1 or shorter has so far failed to finish in the first six, although only one so far has been placed in the first four.

Professionals now hold dominance in the Grand National and better training, dietry habits and protective clothing has ensured that rider's career's are much longer and offer more opportunities to ride in the race. Of the twenty-eight riders who have enjoyed thirteen or more rides in the race, seventeen had their first ride in the 20th Century and six of those had careers that continued into the 21st century. Longevity is no guarantee of success however as ten of the twenty-eight never tasted the glory of winning the race. Tony McCoy had been a eleventh member of this group prior to winning the race at the fifteenth attempt in 2010 and in the process avoiding sharing the record for the most rides without ever being victorious. That honour still being held solely by Jeff King who, in fifteen attempts from 1964-1980 was never better than third. The other nine riders who never won or have not as yet won, having had more than twelve rides in the race are

  • Bill Parvin (1926–1939) finished second once in fourteen attempts
  • Richard Johnson (1997–2010) finished second once in fourteen attempts
  • Graham Bradley (1983–1999) finished second once in fourteen attempts
  • Chris Grant (1980–1994) finished second three times in thirteen attempts
  • Stan Mellor (1956–1971) finished second once in thirteen attempts
  • David Nicholson (1957–1973) never in the first three in thirteen attempts
  • George Waddington (1861–1882) finished second once in thirteen attempts
  • Walter White (1854–1869) finished second once in thirteen attempts
  • Robert Thornton (1997–2009) never in the first three in thirteen attempts

Peter Scudamore also lined up thirteen times without ever winning the National from (1981–1993) but his final ride was in the infamous void National and so technically doesn't count. In his other twelve rides he was third once.

Although it is impossible to put an accurate figure on it, the combined data of The Times, Bell's Life, Sporting Life and Racing Post for each National since 1836 (including the three precursors) would suggest that no more than 1,613 different men and women have competed at least once in the World's greatest steeplechase. However, it should be noted that many Victorian riders rode under assumed names while many others were virtually unknown riders whose names were hastily, and probably in many cases, incorrectly recorded. Even victory does not necessarily bring lasting fame as nothing is known of one rider who won the race in the 1850s other than his name.

John Smith's People's Race and Grand National legends

In 2006 the Grand National sponsors John Smith's Brewery launched the John Smith's People's Race which gave 10 members of the public the chance to ride in a flat race at Aintree on Grand National day.[18] On all, thirty members of the public were given the chance to take part in the event before it was discontinued in 2010.

In 2009 John Smith's launched a poll to find its Grand National legends in which the voters nominated five personalities to be included in this group. Those winners of the poll were announced on Grand National day 2010 and were Donald 'Ginger' McCain and his record three time winning horse Red Rum, Manifesto who holds the record for most runs in the race, including two victories, John Buckingham and his mount Foinavon who were the first, although contrary to popular belief 'not' the only runner to avoid a pile up at the 23rd fence in the 1967 race [Tommy Carberry and Packed Home were even further behind when clearing the fence at the first time of asking to go on and finish fifth] before going on to win at 100/1. Jenny Pitman, the first woman to train the winner of the race in 1983 and Sir Peter O'Sullevan who called home the winners of fifty Grand Nationals on radio and television from 1946 to 1997. in addition John Smith's also asked a panel of experts to select three legends. The panel nominated George Stevens the record five time winning rider of the race between 1856–1870, Captain Martin Becher who played a major part in bringing the National to Liverpool, rode the winner of the first precursor to the National in 1836 and was the first rider to fall at the infamous brook, which forever took his name in 1839 and Edward Topham who was assigned the task of framing the weights for the handicap from 1847 and whose descendants played a major role in the race for the next 125 years.

John Smith's also added five 'people's legends' who were introduced on the first day of the meeting, also known as Liverpool day. The five were Arthur Ferrie who worked as a groundsman during the 1970s and 80s, Edie Roche, a Melling Road reident who opened her home to jockeys, spectators and members of the media when the course was evacuated in 1997, Ian Stewart, a fan who had travelled from Coventry every year to watch the race and was attending his fiftieth National in 2010, PC Ken Lawson who was celebrating thirty-one years of service in the mounted section of Merseyside Police and was set to escort his third National winner in 2010 and Tony Roberts, whose first visit to the National had been in 1948 and had steadily spread the word to family and friends about the race, regularly bringing a party of up to thirty people to the course.[19]


  • 1836The Duke won the inaugural Great Liverpool Steeplechase, which was later renamed the Grand National
  • 1905 – Kirkland, based in Pembrokeshire, is the only winner to be trained in Wales
  • 1923 – Sergeant Murphy became the first American-bred horse to win the Grand National
  • 1926 – William Watkinson recorded the first riding success for Australia. The Tasmanian-born rider was killed at Bogside in Scotland less than three weeks later
  • 1927 – The first BBC Radio commentary of the race, by Meyrick Good and George Allison
  • 1951 – Nickel Coin is the 13th and last mare to win the race
  • 1956Devon Loch, owned by the Queen Mother and ridden by Dick Francis, was in the lead and certain to win when he inexplicably leapt and unseated the jockey on the run-in, 50 yards (45 m) from the finish, giving victory to E.S.B.
  • 1960 – The race was televised for the first time. Since then it has always been shown by the BBC
  • 1961 – The most recent grey horse to win the race – Nicolaus Silver. The only previous grey to win was The Lamb (1868 and 1871)
  • 1962 – Wyndburgh finished runner-up for the third time, but was never to win the race
  • 1967 – A pile up at the 23rd fence held up many horses in the race, allowing 100/1 outsider, Foinavon, to win
  • 1968 – The favourite for the race, Different Class, was owned by actor Gregory Peck
  • 1975 – The second Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to win the Grand National – L'Escargot
  • 1977Red Rum's third victory in the Grand National
  • 1977 – The first female jockey rode in the race. Charlotte Brew rode 200/1 shot Barony Fort, who refused at the fourth fence from home
  • 1979 – Rubstic, based in Roxburghshire, was the first winner to be trained in Scotland
  • 1981Bob Champion, who had been diagnosed with cancer and told he only had months to live in 1979, was the winning jockey on Aldaniti, who had almost been retired because of leg trouble. A film was made of their story entitled Champions
  • 1982 – The first female jockey to complete the race – Geraldine Rees, finished 8th (last) on 66/1 outsider Cheers
  • 1990 – Jockey Chris Grant came second in the race for the third time (previous years were 1986 and 1988)
  • 1991 – The race was won by a horse called Seagram – coincidentally the race was sponsored at the time by the company Seagram. The company had previous chances to buy the horse
  • 1992 – Party Politics won the race just five days before the 1992 UK General Election. Carl Llewellyn got his winning ride only because the horse's regular jockey Andrew Adams was injured. In 1998 he got another winning ride, this time because of an injury to that horse's regular jockey, Tom Jenks
  • 1993 – The race was declared void after many of the riders did not hear the starter's recall. The first horse past the post was Esha Ness, ridden by John White
  • 1997 – The delayed race (rescheduled 48 hours later after a suspected IRA bomb threat) was the last of 50 Nationals (including the void race of 1993) to be commentated on by Peter O'Sullevan
  • 2005 – The race was moved back by 25 minutes owing to the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
  • 2009 – Mon Mome, trained by Venetia Williams, became the longest price winner since Foinavon in 1967
  • 2010 – Don't Push It, first time win after last year having an injury being unable to race. First time that the National is simulcast in high definition by the BBC

See also


  1. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/395/293352.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 British Racing and Racecourses (ISBN 978-0950139722) by Marion Rose Halpenny - Page 167
  3. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/395/293352.html
  4. http://www.grandnational.org.uk/grand-national-betting.php
  5. "The Grand National Course". Aintree Racecourse. http://www.aintree.co.uk/pages/the-grand-national-course/. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  6. http://www.aintree.co.uk/pages/horse-welfare/
  7. http://www.aintree-grand-national.net/aintree-racecourse.php
  8. http://www.aintree.co.uk/pages/horse-racing-at-aintree-race-course/
  9. Armytage, Marcus (3 April 2006). "Evolution can't stop National interest". London: The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2334738/Evolution-cant-stop-National-interest.html. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mutlow, Mick (15 June 2009). "The Birth of The Grand National: The Real Story". Thoroughbred Heritage. http://www.tbheritage.com/TurfHallmarks/racecharts/Steeplechase/GrandNationalEarly.html. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  11. "From first to last - Race history". icLiverpool. 17 June 2009. http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0560grandnational/0075news/tm_headline=from-first-to-last-race-history%26method=full%26objectid=11007877%26siteid=50061-name_page.html. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  12. http://www.thegamehunter.co.uk/bettingblog/horseracing/foinavon1967grandnational/
  13. http://www.grandnational.org.uk/history.php
  14. http://www.grand-national-world.co.uk/gnw/the_race/tales/foinavon.html
  15. Clark, Neil (15 June 2009). "Long-time leader Crisp is caught by Red Rum in the dying strides". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/jan/07/horseracing.features. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  16. "Mr Frisk and Mr Armytage". London: The Guardian. 9 April 1990. http://sport.guardian.co.uk/grandnational2005/story/0,,1450371,00.html. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  17. "Captain Little Mounted on Chandler". 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. http://www.qdg.org.uk/pages/In-Between-Campaigning-135.php. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  18. Lee, Alan (18 June 2009). "Thousands in running for People's Race". London: The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/racing/article2733207.ece. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  19. John Smith's Grand National legends

External links


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