The most famous Steeplechase of them all, the Grand National is the ultimate test of a horses’ stamina, jumping ability and above all, its courage. Ran over 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs at Aintree racecourse in April, the National is the most valuable jumps race in Europe with a prize fund of £1 million since 2014.
One of the things that sets the National apart from other National Hunt races is the size of the fences. A number of the fences have become famous in their own right, especially The Chair, Beecher’s Brook and the Canal Turn.
Unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is seen as the most prestigious jumps race of the racing calendar, the National is the one race that members of the general public with no interest in horse racing will tune in for.
The Legacy of Red Rum
One of the reasons the Grand National is so beloved by the public is due to the list of celebrated horses who have captured their hearts throughout the years, none more so than the great Red Rum.
Purchased by Ginger McCain on the behest of Noel le Mare, it was soon discovered that Red Rum was lame. The horse was suffering from an inflammatory bone disorder, but fortunately McCain knew that by running the horse along Southport beach and in sea-water, it would correct Red Rums issue. It did, and the rest is history. Red Rum is probably the most famous racehorse of all time thanks to his exploits at the Grand National.
The Best Grand National Ever?
Red Rum is still the only horse to win the Grand National three times, in 1973, 1974 and 1977 – finishing runner-up in 1975 and 1976. The most dramatic of his three wins was his first in 1973 - described by many as the best horse race of all time.
Red Rum came over the last fence a full 15 lengths behind champion Australian chaser, Crisp. Eating up the ground with every stride, Red Rum beat the tiring Crisp by ¾ of a length at the post. You can relive these classic moments by watching the video below. Have you ever seen a better race than this?