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Grand National History & Facts

History of The Grand National and Interesting Facts

The Grand National is not a race for favourites. Only 12 were victorious in the whole of the 20th century. Neither is it is a race for outsiders. The majority of winners have an s.p of 7/1 to 16/1, although 5 have won at 100/1. Older, more experienced horses seem to do better. In the last 35 years all but three races have been won by horses aged 9 to 12 and all with at least 10 runs over fences. No horse aged 13 or older has won since 1923 when Seargent Murphy ran to victory.

1837 - The first Grand National meeting: The first two races were run in Maghull, and the very first Grand National was won by "The Duke".

1839 - The first official races at Aintree were organised by the owner of Liverpool's Waterloo Hotel, Mr William Lynn. Lynn leased the land from Lord Sefton, laid out a course, built a grandstand and staged the first Flat fixture on July 7, 1829. On Tuesday February 26, 1839, Lottery became the first winner of The Grand National. In those days the field had to jump a stone wall (now the water jump), cross a stretch of plough land and finish over two hurdles. This was also the year in which the infamous Captain Martin Beecher fell from his horse, "Conrad" into the brook when in the lead, thus beginning the legend that is Beecher's Brook.

1840 - Valentines (fence 8 and 24) was named this year when a horse called "Valentine" reared up violently before jumping the fence and somehow managing to reach the other side. The race was won by "Jerry", a 12-1 outsider.

1843 - Under pressure from bookies, the race becomes a handicap for the first time, with the best horses being allocated weights. to hold them back.

1845 - "Cure All" won and was the first horse to win in less than 11 minutes.

1850 - "Abd-El-Kader" won and was the first horse to do so in under 10 minutes, winning £1,000.

1851 - "Abd-El-Kader" became the first ever dual Grand National winner.

1857 - The renewal of the Grand National saw no less than 7 false starts. The race was won by "Emigrant" at 10-1.

1868 - "The Lamb" won for the first time at 9-1, the first grey horse to win the National.

1869 - The Colonel becomes the first 100/1 outsider to win the National. The Colonel successfully defends his crown the following year, but this time as the favourite.

1870 - "The Colonel", 7-2 favourite, became a dual winner.

1871 - "The Lamb" became a dual winner at 11-2.

1884 - The first horse owned by HRH The Prince of Wales ran this year - a horse called "The Scot" who failed to complete the course. The race was won by "Voluptuary" at 10-1. 1885 - Foul play was suspected as one of the runners met with a severe case of poisoning as the favourite, "Roquefort", won the race with £1,035 prizemoney.

1893 - 9-2 favourite, "Cloister", won with a time of just over 9½ minutes creating a new record.

1897 - Manifesto wins the National for a second time - in total the horse ran in the National a record eight times

1899 - "Manifesto became a dual winner.

1900 - Ambush II becomes the first winner to be owned by an immediate member of the Royal Family - HRH The Prince of Wales.

1903 - King Edward VII had "Ambush II" running again, but this time the horse fell. The favourite "Drumcree" won making his owners £2,000 richer.

1904 - Moiffa wins the National in remarkable circumstances. The New Zealand-born horse was found stranded off the coast of Ireland after being shipwrecked and presumed lost at sea.

1916 - 1918 - The First World War forces the race to be moved to Gatwick.

1919 - The race returns to Aintree. Lester Piggott's Grandfather, Ernie Piggott, won the race on "Poethlyn", at 11-4, winning just over £3,500 for the owners .

1921 - A record 35 horses took part with "Shaun Spadah" winning £7,000 for the owners.

1923 - "Sergeant Murphy" won at 100-6.

1925 - This year saw the introduction of the starting gate with "Double Chance" ridden by Major J Wilson winning at 100-9.

1927 - The BBC introduces radio coverage for the first time.

1928 - Only two horses finish the race after a pile-up at the Canal Turn. Outsider Tipperary Tim becomes a 100/1 winner. Bizarrely, given the extent of the collision, a record 66 horses are permitted to line up for the race the following year.

1929 - The biggest field ever to take part in the National saw 66 horses charge down to the first fence. The race was won by 100-1 shot, "Gregalach", who netted £13,000 pounds for his grateful owners.

1933 - The great "Golden Miller", dual winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, fell at the Canal Turn with 25-1 "Kellsboro' Jack" winning.

1934 - "Golden Miller", at 8-1, won in 9 minutes and 20 seconds.

1935 - "Golden Miller", with 5 Gold Cups and a National win under his belt, started at 2-1 favourite but unseated his rider at the 10th fence as "Reynoldstown" went on to win the race.

1936 - "Reynoldstown" completed a double in the National.

1938 - An unlikely pair, Bruce Hobbs at the tender age of 17 on "Battleship" who was just over 15 hands high took the victory.

1941-1945 - Aintree is used as a US Army base during the Second World War. The Grand National returns the year after the war ends.

1947 - On the first year the National is staged on a Saturday, Coughoo wins the race as a 100/1 long-shot.

1948 - A 50-1 outsider, "Sheila`s Cottage", won the race.

1950 - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth had her first horse in this race, "Monaveen", which finishes sixth while "Freebooter" won at 10-1.

1952 - Mrs Topham employed her own commentators for the race, which "Teal" won at 100-7.

1953 - "Early Mist" won for Irish Trainer, Vincent O'Brien.

1954 - "Royal Tan" won, trained by Vincent O'Brien.

1955 - Quare Times wins Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien his third National in a row, following on from the success of Royal Tan and Early Mist.

1956 - The Queen Mother was one of National Hunt's biggest fans, but as an owner she will always be remembered for this race. In unthinkable circumstances, her horse, Devon Loch, is way out in front on the final stretch when it skids to a halt trying to jump a non-existant fence. Appropriately, jockey Dick Francis, went on to become a mystery writer. ESB took advantage and won race. Was it the shadow of the Chair Fence that made him jump? Was it the huge crowd that frightened him with the tremendous crescendo of noise that was about to greet a Royal Grand National winner? We will never know, but Devon Loch will always be known as the unluckiest Aintree loser of all time.

1959 - This year saw the heroic riding of Tim Brookshaw who rode "Wyndburgh" into second place despite having to ride without irons from Bechers Brook second time around. "Oxo" won the race at 8-1.

1960 - The Grand National is televised for the very first time and legendary commentator Peter O'Sullevan enjoys his first stint behind the microphone.

1961 - The Russians came in the shape of two horses, "Grifel" and "Reljef" but they failed to complete the course with the race won by "Nicholas Silver", the second grey horse to win the National.

1967 - There was nothing unremarkable about the 1967 Grand National until, eight fences from home. Popham Down" ran right across the fence causing complete chaos for the rest of the field. With the leaders either refusing to jump, throwing their jockeys or simply turning round and running back down the course, it looked like the race was over until 100/1 shot and back-marker Foinavon appeared, found a way through the chaos and over the fence, and went on to win the National. The 23rd fence is now known as Foinavon in his honour.

1968 - American film star Gregory Peck owned the favourite, "Different Class" who finished third with victory going to "Red Alligator" ridden by Brian Fletcher.

1973 - "Red Rum" won his first National in a record time of 9 minutes and 2 seconds. The race revolved around Red Rum and a great Australian chaser called Crisp, both 9-1 joint favourites. Crisp had 12-0 on his back and Red Rum had 10-5. The Australian horse led for a lot of the way but was just run out of it in the last few strides. It was a memorable Grand National and the start of a legend of "Red Rum".

1974 - "Red Rum" at 11-1 won for the second time, with his jockey, Brian Fletcher, taking his third win in the race.

1975 - The News of the World was the new sponsor of the race with prize money of £38,000 which went to "L'Escargot" at 13-2, beating "Red Rum".

1976 - "Red Rum" finished second, this time to 14-1 shot "Rag Trade". Once again the legendary horse was valiant in defeat carrying 11 stone 10 pounds around the course and only being beaten by a couple of lengths.

1977 - After successive victories in 1973 and 1974, the legendary Red Rum finally wins his third Grand National. The previous two years Red Rum narrowly missed out to L'Escargot and Rag Trade, largely due to the extra weight he was forced to carry. History is also made by Charlotte Brew, who becomes the first female to ride a horse in the National.

1980 - "Ben Nevis", 40-1, from the USA won the race worth nearly £46,000 and this year saw the death of Aintree's owner, Mrs Topham.

1981 - Bob Champion rides Aldaniti home to win the National. The win was the most remarkable in Grand National history given that Aldaniti had been struggling with tendon and bone trouble and that jockey Champion had recently recovered from cancer. The win spawned a movie, Champions.

1982 - Dick Saunders becomes the oldest winning National jockey on Grittar - he does so at the age of 48. That same race Geraldine Rees becomes the first female jockey to complete the course.

1983 - Legendary trainer Jenny Pitman becomes the first woman to train a National winner with Corbiere. Her ex-husband Richard Pitman had ridden Red Rum to his first victory a decade earlier.

1984 - "Hallo Dandy" won the race but, despite his achievement he was to become the subject of horror a few years later when he was found disshevelled and neglected in a field. He is now enjoying a happy retirement at the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.

1985 - "Last Suspect" at 66-1 and trained by Captain Tim Forster won £54,000 for the owner, The Duchess of Westminster.

1987 - "Maori Venture" won £64,000 pounds for his owner, octogenarian Mr Jim Joel.

1988 - Rhyme 'n' Reason sprawls on all fours at Beecher's Brook... yet miraculously still recovers to win the race.

1990 - The National is won in a time under 9 minutes for the very first time, by Mr Frisk. His staggering time of 8 minutes 47 seconds has never been bettered. Mr Frisk went on to win the Whitbread Gold Cup a few weeks later.

1991 - The Grand National, sponsored by Seagram, is won by... Seagram!

1992 - Party Politics, a horse of huge proportions, wins the National in General Election week despite having to breathe through a tube in his neck.

1993 - 'The race that never was' leaves millions frustrated - after animal activists disrupt the first start, the starting tape gets stuck round jockey Richard Dunwoody's neck during the second start. Despite a false start being called the horses race on. Esha Ness crosses the finishing line first, only to be told that the race is void.

1994 - Minnehoma wins the National for comedian Freddie Starr.

1995 - Trainer, Jenny Pitman, won again with 40-1 "Royal Athlete" ridden by Irishman Jason Titley having his first ride in the big race.

1997 - The race is abandoned on the Saturday after an IRA bomb scare. 60,000 racegoers have to be evacuated. Lord Gyllene wins the rescheduled race, run on the Monday.

2000 - Irish father and son Ted and Ruby Walsh won the race with "Papillon" who was subject of a huge morning gamble dropping odds from 33-1 down to around 12-1 netting a supposed £1m coup.

2001 - At the height of the foot-and-mouth outbreak, the race almost goes the way of the cancelled Cheltenham Festival, but when it eventually gets under way, only four horses finish, with Red Marauder claiming the spoils.

2002 - In a field restricted to just 40 runners, Bindaree comes home the winner. The following year Bindaree finishes sixth, despite having to work his way from the very back of the field.

2003 - 16-1 outsider Monty's Pass was the surprise winner Ridden by Barry Geraghty the horse came home 12 lengths ahead of 40-1 Supreme Glory.

2004 - A record 70,000 people watched racing legend Ginger McCain make history by becoming only the second trainer in history to secure four Grand National victories. 16-1 outsider Amberleigh House, ridden by Graham Lee, caused an emotional storm as he came late to take the glory from the 10-1 co-favourite Clan Royal by three lengths, once more making McCain the King of Aintree.

2005 - Irish horse Hedgehunter had a convincing victory under jockey Ruby Walsh before a record crowd of 70,850. The nine-year-old had suffered an agonising last-fence fall in last year's race, but had no such problems this time. He powered away at the elbow and was 14 lengths clear at the finishing line. Meanwhile, female jockey Carrie Ford answered her critics, riding home to equal the best result for a female jockey in the Grand National

2006 - Numbersixvalverde continued the recent success for Irish horses, with Boobyjo in 1999, Papillon in 2000, Monty’s Pass in 2003 and Hedgehunter in 2005.

2007 - Silver Birch continued the success of Irish trained horses, winning in 2007. Two new grandstands were used for the first time at Aintree, the Earl of Derby and the Lord Sefton Stands.

2008 - The run of success for Irish horses ended when the joint favourite Comply or Die ran to victory.

2009 - 100/1 Mon Mome became the longest priced winner to win the National for 42 years. This is only the fifth winner at those odds and no horse has ever succeeded at greater odds.

2010 - Don’t Push it trained by Jonjo O’Neill won by 5 lengths and it was a personal triumph for rider Tony McCoy having had 14 previous failed attempts.

2011 - Owner Trevor Hemmings, who won with Hedgehunter 2005 thought he was dreaming as he watched his horse Ballabriggs run to victory beating an equally brave Oscar Time by two and a quarter lengths.

2012 - One of the most dramatic races in the history of the National. It needed a photograph to separate first and second with Neptune Collonges edging a nose past Sunnyhillboy. But events were overshadowed by the death of two horses, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised, one of the favourites and According To Pete. They both fell at Becher's Brook fence and were later put down.

2013 - The 166th Grand National took placd on April 6th 2013. It was won by 66/1 Auroras Encore. Seabass the 11-2 favourite finished in 13th place. 40 ran.

2014 - Pineau De Re beat Balthazar King by 5 lengths to win the 2014 Grand National. The 25/1 winner was trained by Dr Richard Newalnd who up to 12 months ago was a practising GP. All horses and riders returned safely.

2015 - Many Clouds (25/1), ridden by Leighton Aspell, won the 2015 Grand National at Aintree, with Saint Are (25/1) second and Monbeg Dude third (40/1).
2016 - Rule The World (33/1), ridden by David Mullins, won the 2016 Grand National at Aintree, joint-favourite The Last Samuri came second, third was Vics Canvas ridden by Robert Dunne. 2017 - One For Arthur (14/1), ridden by Derek Fox, won the 2017 Grand National at Aintree, Cause Of Causes finished second, while Saint Are came home in third and the favourite Blaklion back in fourth.