The Grand National is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 3½ furlongs with horses jumping 30 obstacles. It is held at Aintree in Liverpool during April each year.
Race Type: Grade 3, National Hunt, Steeplechase handicap
Distance: 4 miles 3½ furlongs (7141 metres)
Track: Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, England
Date: Saturday 9 April 2022 (10 April 2022 at 2:15 am Australian EST)
The Grand National dates back to 1839. Originally a weight-for-age race it became a handicap in 1843. It has up to 40 runners and is the most valuable jump race in Europe. Horses jump 30 fences over two circuits of the course and it has been called the ultimate test of horse and rider. The fences are large and some incorporate significant drops, such as Becher’s Brook which is 5ft high, but has a 7ft drop on landing.
During the First World War Aintree Racecourse was used by the War Office so the annual steeplechase was held at Gatwick Racecourse instead. It was not held from 1941 to 1945 because of World War II. In 1993 most of the field was not recalled after a false start, and even though some completed the course the result was declared void. In 1997 the racecourse was evacuated following bomb threats from the IRA and the race was run two days later on the Monday. In 2020 the race was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021 Rachael Blackmore rode Minella Times to become the first female jockey to win the race.
Previous winners of the Grand National:
Red Rum is the only horse to have won this race more than twice. He won in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and also ran 2nd in 1975 and 1976. Golden Miller is the only horse to win the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year (1934). Irish-bred horses have a great record. The oldest horse to win was the 15 year-old Peter Simple in 1853, and the oldest jockey was 48 year-old Dick Saunders in 1982.Thirteen mares have won the race from Charity in 1841 to Nickel Coin in 1951.Three grey horses have won – these were The Lamb (1868 and 1871), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and Neptune Collonges (2012). Jenny Pitman was the first woman trainer of a Grand National in 1983 with Corbiere. The best performance by a female jockey was Katie Walsh who finished 3rd in 2012 before Rachel Blackmore won in 2021.