Category: Racing Tips

The Aintree Grand National Runners 2018

Grand National Runners 2019 Guide

Grand National 2019 Runners

The Top 6 Horses of The 2018 Grand National

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TIGER ROLL - NO 13

1st

Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland

Weight: 10-12 Jockey: Davy Russell

Form: 331P-2P51 Age: 8

Odds: 14/1 28/1

PLEASANT COMPANY - NO 21

2nd

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland

Weight: 10-10 Jockey: David Mullins

Form:  3P/1419-0P Age: 10

Odds: 40/1 80/1

BLESS THE WINGS - NO 36

3rd

Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland

Weight: 10-5 Jockey: Jack Kennedy

Form: 45324-212 Age: 13

Odds: 50/1 100/1

ANIBALE FLY - NO 3

4th

Trainer: A. J. Martin, Ireland

Weight: 11-7 Jockey: Barry Geraghty

Form142-591F3 Age: 8

Odds: 11/1 22/1

MILANSBAR - NO 37

5th

Trainer: Neil King

Weight: 10-5 Jockey: Bryony Frost

FormPP-63U152 Age: 11

Odds: 50/1 100/1

ROAD TO RICHES - NO 40

6th

Trainer: Noel Meade, Ireland

Weight: 10-4 Jockey: Sean Flanagan

FormP285-090P Age: 11

Odds: 66/1 132/1

 

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Aintree Grand National 2018 bets, tips and odds | Everything you need to know about Grand National Day

The Best Grand National 2018 Guide online

Grand National Runners 2019 - final 40 runners announced

The final list of runners and riders for the 2019 Grand National at Aintree on Saturday has been announced, with Gold Present the only withdrawal at the final 48-hour declaration stage.

Check out the latest in the line-up for the Grand National 2019 Runners here.

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The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Minella Rocco, runner-up in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will shoulder top weight of 11st 10lb, with Noel Meade's Road To Riches sneaking in at the bottom of the 40-runner field.

Blaklion is one of two runners for Nigel Twiston-Davies after he finished fourth in last year's race and he will be joined by stablemate Double Ross.

Gordon Elliott will aim to cap an unbelievable season with Tiger Roll, Ucello Conti and the 13-year-old Bless The Wings.

He is not the only teenager in the race, though, as fellow 13-year-old Raz De Maree will try to supplement the Welsh National he won in January when he was ridden by James Bowen.

This time Bowen rides Shantou Flyer for Richard Hobson, while his elder brother Sean will be on Warriors Tale for Paul Nicholls, who also runs Vicente.

The Last Samuri was second to Rule The World two years ago and while he was unplaced last year, trainer Kim Bailey was delighted with his third behind Tiger Roll in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time.

"I'm very happy with his preparation and I thought he ran a fantastic race in the Cross Country," Bailey told At The Races. "He's as good as he was two years ago, but unfortunately he's carrying nearly a stone more than he was then, which makes it difficult."

Total Recall, Gold Cup third Anibale Fly, Seeyouatmidnight and Baie Des Iles, for the husband-and-wife team of Ross O'Sullivan and Katie Walsh, are other fancied runners.

Bryony Frost will ride in the National for the first time when she is reunited with Milansbar, on whom she won the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.

Rachael Blackmore will also ride over the Aintree fences for the first time as she has been recruited by Mouse Morris to partner Alpha Des Obeaux.

The four reserves are Thunder And Roses, Delusion of Grandeur, Walk In The Mill and Vintage Clouds. If any of the 40 confirmed runners are taken out before 1pm on Friday, the reserves will step up in the order in which they appear on the racecard.

day one

It's finally arrived! Today was the opening Day of the Randox Health Grand National 2018 and we've been bringing you all the latest coverage, live from the course at Aintree.

The Grand National festival is one of, if not the , key event in the sporting calendar, and we have been looking forward to it all year. Thursday kicked off three full days of world-famous racing.

All the results from day one

If you’re just getting home from work, or you’re just catching up on day one of the Grand National, here are all the results from Aintree:

1.45pm Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade One), 2m4f, £100,000

  • 1st Finians Oscar 5/2
  • 2nd Renes Girl 8/1

2.20pm Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade One), 2m1f, £100,000

  • 1st We Have A Dream 2/1
  • 2nd Gumball 20/1
  • 3rd Apples Shakira 13/8F

2.50pm Betway Bowl Chase (Grade One), 3m1f, £190,000

  • 1st Might Bite 4/5F
  • 2nd Bristol De Mai 5/1
  • 3rd Clan Des Obeaux 8/1

3.25pm Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade One), 2m4f, £250,000

  • 1st L’Ami Serge 5/1
  • 2nd Supasundae 11/10F
  • 3rd Clyne 25/1

4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase, 2m5f, £45,000

  • 1st Balnaslow 11/2
  • 2nd Bears Affair 20/1
  • 3rd Greensalt 66/1

4.40pm Red Rum Handicap Chase, 2m, £90,000

  • 1st Bentelimar 10/1
  • 2nd Theinval 5/1
  • 3rd Gino Trail 10/1
  • 4th Doitforthevillage 10/1

5.15pm Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NHF (Grade Two), 2m, £45,000

  • 1st Getaway Katie Mai 15/8F
  • 2nd Midnightreferendum 25/1
  • 3rd Duhallow Gesture 10/1

Aintree Grand National Ladies Day 2018

The most fashionable day of the racing calendar has come and gone; this was Ladies Day 2018!

Following the success of opening day, thousands of racegoers were expected to come through the gates at Aintree racecourse today - and they didn't disappoint.

With the highlights of the day including the Style Award, Ladies Day saw full-racing fans in their finery.

ladies day

All the results from Ladies Day

1:40pm - The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle

  • 1st Jester Jet 20/1
  • 2nd Eaton Hill 20/1
  • 3rd Who Dares Wins 13/2F
  • 4th Wilde Blue Yonder 14/1

2:20pm - The Aintree Top Novices’ Hurdle

  • 1st Lalor 14/1
  • 2nd Vision Des Flos 11/4
  • 3rd Bedrock 33/1

2:50pm - The Mildmay Novices’ Chase

  • 1st Terrefort 3/1F
  • 2nd Ms Parfois 9/2
  • 3rd Elegant Escape 4/1

3:25pm - The Melling Chase

  • 1st Politologue 11/1
  • 2nd Min 11/10F

4:05pm - The Randox Health Topham Chase

  • 1st Ultragold 14/1
  • 2nd Shanahans Turn 14/1
  • 3rd Theatre Territory 10/1
  • 4th Kilcrea Vale 12/1

4:40pm - The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

  • 1st Santini 6/4F
  • 2nd Roksana 9/1
  • 3rd Tower Bridge 8/1

5:15pm - The Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat

  • 1st Portrush Ted 25/1
  • 2nd Kateson 16/1
  • 3rd Harambe 33/1

Watch the Grand National 2017

 

Its estimated that a quarter of the UK adult population will bet on the Randox Health sponsored Grand National 2018. Most people will have a small each-way bet on a horse they fancy from the list of Grand National runners 2018 for no other reason than the fact that they like the name. Of course there’s nothing wrong with picking a horse for that reason, as pre-race favourites have a dire record in the race.

The Grand National 2018 is famed for its unpredictable nature and rightly so, in the past century five 100/1 shots have triumphed over the famous fences. However, the Grand National is far less of a lottery than many people believe.  One thing is for sure, everyone will be looking for the Grand National 2018 best odds! As one of the biggest UK sports betting events of the year, it's no wonder so many people go mad for it!

Trends and statistics have emerged over the last 20 years which can help you identify those runners who have the potential to run a big race.  Whether you decide to follow the trends and stats or choose your horse based on its name, silk colour or jockey riding we can tell you everything you need to know about this year's hopefuls including where to find the grand national 2018 best odds.

A TV audience in excess of 10 million will tune in to watch the drama of the 2018 Grand National unfold on the 14th of April at 5:15pm. Along with those watching at home a 70,000 strong crowd will be at Aintree racecourse to cheer on the horses from the first fence to the final furlong.

Grand National Runners 2018 - Tips | Favourites | Info

** As soon as the final line up is announces we'll have that information and analysis for you right here **

Horses that have run in previous Aintree Grand Nationals are always a good place to start. When it comes to looking for horses that will run well in the 2018 race, this trend is up with 5 of the last 16 winners of the Grand National having been unplaced in the previous year’s race.  Here are our best Grand National tips for 2018’s favourites or at least the ones we expect to make the cut.  The Grand National runners 2018 are as follows.

 

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Blacklion

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, Blaklion, who ran a gallant fourth in the 2017 Grand National, heads most of the bookmaker markets around the 25/1 mark. But many of the layers are going much shorter (14/1 – 16/1). This horse will be 9 years-old come April 2018, which is the perfect age for this race. 14 of the previous 27 winners were aged 9 or 10 years-old. The Twiston-Davies yard have also won the race twice in the past, with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

They certainly know what’s needed to prepare Grand National horses. With another year on his back, we can expect Blaklion to be stronger this time. Being only 8 ¼ lengths back from the winner – One For Arthur – in 2017, we know he stays this 4m 2 ½ f trip well.

We can expect his handicap mark to be higher this year, but having proved he can tackle the tricky Grand National fences suggests his connections will aim at giving him another crack in April. Being placed before though does, however, mean he’s got a big negative trend to overcome that has seen just 1 winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race go onto win 12 months later. But he could still be one for the each-way backers. However, as soon as the ‘once-a-year’ punter remember his name from last year, there is also a big chance his 25/1 price will be a lot, lot shorter on the day. Don’t forget 12 months ago he was sent off as the 8/1 favourite! Our Grand National tips would be to back him now, with the view to his price being a lot shorter on the day.

Minella Rocco

At the time of writing this Jonjo O’Neill-trained runner is yet to taste the National fences, but after running second to Sizing John in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup is another that, if making the final line-up, would add a bit of class to this years Grand National. The yard won this race in 2010 with Don’t Push It – another JP McManus-owned runner – and at just 8 years-old there should be a lot more to come from this classy chaser.

Having said that, he’s not started his 2017/18 campaign well with heavy defeats at Punchestown and Cheltenham, so he’d need to bounce back from those efforts if he’s to be considered at this stage. He’s also won just one of his 11 chase starts, at the time of writing – with his last victory coming back at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

With that in-mind, he’s a horse that has gone well more often than not at Prestbury Park so connections may well prefer a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival again, rather than running in this race – we’ll see.

The Last Samurai

Many people will recall this horse being the runner-up in the 2016 Grand National. He would have cost the bookmakers a few quid that day after being well-supported into 8/1 joint-favourite.

He’d won the Grimthorpe Chase (a recognised Grand National Trial race) by an easy 10 lengths the month before. He figured in the 2017 Grand National too, but could only manage 16th, but to his credit he was burdened with a massive 11-10 that day. Since 1978, 120 horses have tried to win with more than 11-5, with just two winners; Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015 & Neptune Collonges (11-6) in 2012.

This race will certainly be a target again and being that he’s got round in the last two renewals then he’s becoming a regular in the race. We can expect the handicapper to relent a bit on his mark. So, our Grand National tips would include watching that closely. A lot will depend on the handicapper. But he returned to the track this season with a decent second at Kempton over an inadequate trip to show he’s still in love with the game.

Native River

Another horse that is proving to be popular in the Grand National betting market. If Native River makes the race, he would certainly be a class act in the line-up. This Colin Tizzard-trained runner will only be 8 years-old by April but he’s already a Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner. He also rounded off last season with a decent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He’s won at Aintree in the past, but he’s yet to tackle the Grand National-style fences. This may be seen as a negative with 7 of the last 15 winners having tasted these fences before.

That said, he’s a good jumper that heads into the 2017/18 off the back of 10 chase runs and he’s yet to finish out of the first three in these, let alone fall in any of them! Our Grand National tips are that he’ll be a big player if connections opt for this route, rather than the Gold Cup. Though, if he does head to Aintree for this race then a lot will depend how much weight the handicapper gives him – we’ll know that later in the season.

Cause of Causes

A horse that went from strength-to-strength last season and many racing fans will remember him winning the unique Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017. Having won over those tricky obstacles, the National fences looked sure to suit. This proved right in the 2017 Grand National after finishing a 4 ½ length second to One For Arthur. He was sent off at a well-fancied 16/1 12 months ago so the 33/1 on offer now looks a tempting price.

He’s another that will have the negative trend of past placed horses to overcome and is sure to have more weight this time. However, his ability to handle the course is a big plus. With the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree in 2018 being almost 4 weeks then there is a good chance this Gordon Elliott-trained runner can try and defend his Cheltenham Cross Country crown before heading to Aintree once again.

Vieu Lion Rouge

The Pipe Pond House stable that are certainly no strangers to landing this race. They won the prize in 1994 (Miinnehoma) and 2008 (Comply Or Die). This horse will be 9 years-old by April and is another that punters might recall after running a fair sixth last year. He was eventually 27 lengths behind the winner. But that was still a top effort for at horse that had only run 10 times over fences. He actually went second after three out but failed to sustain that effort. So, many will look at that with stamina concerns.

He was 7th in the 2016 running so the fences and getting round don’t seem to be an issue. It’s just whether he fully gets this 4m2f trip. At this stage, the 40/1 price with Coral looks about right. With another year on his back then he may return this season a stronger horse. The Grand National tips point to take away could be that he’s in another race that he gets round but finds 5 or 6 too good again.

Saint Are

If there is a horse still in training that deserves to win a National it’s this fella. He’s run well in four Grand Nationals now, and has finished 2nd and 3rd in two! This horse will be 12 years-old by April. But with four Grand Nationals already under his belt, he’s becoming a regular fixture in this world’s greatest steeplechase. He was a gallant third 12 months ago and only beaten 8 ¼ lengths. While in 2016 he was pulled-up, finished 2nd in 2015 and 9th in 2013. He’s raced at Aintree many times before too and seems to love the flat nature of the track. So, our Grand National tips point will be to keep his age in mind. Providing it doesn’t catch up with him, he’s another to have on your radar. Though, probably more in terms of grabbing another place, rather than winning.

Vincente

From the Paul Nicholls yard that have won the Grand National once before (2012, Neptune Collonges).

This horse will be 9 years-old by April, but punters will also might remember him from last year as he was sent off 16/1 in the 2017 running. However, he got no further than the first fence that day after coming to grief under jockey Brian Hughes so that might put some people off backing him again. However, it’s worth noting he’s a National winner in his own right too after landing the Scottish version in 2017 after that fall and has returned to the track in 2017 in similar form with a decent return run at Cheltenham in November. The handicapper is sure to give him a chance and if he’s got anything near the 10-10 in weight he had 12 months ago then this improving staying chaser is certainly one to consider.

Definitely Red

Another horse Grand National fans might remember from 2017. This Brian Ellison-trained runner was almost sent off as favourite (10/1). Punters backed this improving stayer into that price from around 20/1 on the morning.

Despite failing to reward his followers he did have his excuses. His saddle eventually slipped and was pulled-up. But before that he had been badly hampered at the 6th fence (Bechers Brook) and never really recovered from that.

He’ll be 9 years-old come April so is another that looks to be the perfect age now. Providing he has an injury-free season, this race certainly looks a firm target for him. Our top Grand National tips here are that he’s sure to be a lot shorter in the day than the 33/1 being offered now. Especially once the novice punters recall his name from 12 months ago.

Pleasant Company

This Willie Mullins-trained runner was backed down to 11/1 from much bigger prices on the day. He ran well, too, after finishing 9th that day and despite being 28 lengths back from the winner. He did lose all chance when stumbling badly at the 25th fence. The horse stayed on well after that under Ruby Walsh.

But after proving he’s another that can handle the fences then he’s one to note. Again, his current price of around 40/1 looks big considering his was backed into 11/1 last year. He’ll be 10 years-old this time, while that track experience from last year would have taught him a lot. It’s hard to know if he’ll give the race another go. But barring any injuries, we feel that this would certainly be a race on his agenda this season.

Go Conquer

This horse could be one to have on your radar and follow as the season progresses.

It’s hard to 100% know at this stage if the horse will head to the Grand National, or other targets. But this is another from the Jonjo O’Neill yard that won the race in 2010. This horse will be 9 years-old come the race, which looks the perfect age and having returned to the track. This season, with two wins at Fontwell and Ascot, he’s clearly a horse still on the up.

He’s a front-running sort so if he doesn’t head to the National he’ll have to do it the hard way from the front. But the plusses surrounding that are that he’ll stay out of trouble and any loose horses. He’s also tasted these fences in the past when 17th (of 29) in the Topham Chase at the Grand National meeting 12 months ago. That race might also be a possible target too. The trip would also be a bit of an unknown as the furthest he’s gone to date is 3 miles. Though, he’s caught the eye so far this season and looks a horse to note.

How are the Grand National 2018 Runners Chosen?

Every year a maximum of 40 horses line up at the start of the Aintree Grand National and 600 million people worldwide tune in to watch them tackle the 30 notoriously difficult fences in a bid to put themselves into the history books. But how do those particular runners and riders make it to Grand National day?

A horse will be entered into the Grand National runners 2018 if it meets the minimum criteria for qualification and the owner and trainer feel that their horse is capable of handling the race. Not all horses are suited to the long Aintree course or have the necessary jumping ability. Even if a horse gets entered that doesn't guarantee a place at the starting line.

The race is open to horses aged seven and upwards that have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and who are allotted a rating of at least 120 by the BHA Handicapper.

The entry date for the race is always at the end of January, with the names and numbers announced by the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) the following day. In 2017 there were 110 entries, 2016 had 126 entries, an increase of 28 on the 98 entered in 2015.

The BHA Head Of Handicapping then takes the list of entries and frames the weights. In other words, he decides which horses will carry the heaviest weights and which will carry the least. The handicap system is designed to give every horse a fair chance of winning the race, good horses will carry more weight than those perceived to have less ability.

The maximum weight any horse can carry in the 2018 Grand National will be 11st 10lbs and the minimum is 10st. Each runner's weight will be largely determined by their OR (Official Rating) and the higher the rating, the higher the weight. Although the Grand National is the only race in Britain in which the Handicapper can ignoring the official ratings if he wishes, often to the consternation of owners and trainers.

Horses are then put in descending order from the highest to the lowest weighted and that also determines their race number. The top-weighted horse is number one, second heaviest weighted horse is number two and so on.

The weights are then announced, in 2017 it was on February 14th, and from then on a series of ‘Declaration Stages’ take place. At each of these stages, horses can be withdrawn from the proceedings by their trainers and as they are removed and the entries get whittled down so even horses that have not initially made the Top 40 may now do so as entries above them are taken out.

The very last declaration stage takes place at 10am on the Thursday immediately before Grand National 2018 day. This is the point where the top 40 horses will be near completion along with four additional reserves.

The following morning, Friday, at 10am any non-runners must be declared and be replaced by one of the four reserves. This is also the point where any horses who were previously allocated weights of less than 10st will have their weight increased to meet requirements.

Criteria for Jockeys Wishing to Participate

The criteria for professional or amateur jockeys wanting to take part in the race are very specific. Grand National Runners 2018 must have ridden not less than 15 winners in chases or hurdle races under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Committee and ridden not less than 10 of these winners in chases.

A champion jockey like A.P. McCoy who primarily rode horses for super owner J.P. McManus had his pick of horses in the race before he retired. Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty are other top jockeys who can often choose their rides and odds will tumble on any horses chosen by the pair.

Amateur jockeys are now a rarity in the Grand National compared with races early days. Sam Whaley-Cohen is probably the most famous amateur rider in recent years and he enjoys a record over the Aintree fences which is the envy of many a professional.

Other jockeys will usually ride for the yards that retain them or a trainer will engage their services just for this race. In recent years a number of high profile jockeys have missed the race due to injuries picked up at the Cheltenham festival which is the last major National Hunt meeting before Aintree.

Don't be put off backing a less well known jockey or even one who has never ridden the course before. In 2013 jockey Ryan Mania won the race at his first attempt!

Grand National Runners 2018
Champion Jockey A.P McCoy

Grand National History

The Grand National at Aintree has been a British sporting institution since 1839. A horse called Lottery won the inaugural race and Captain Becher fell at a now world famous brook. In those days, horses jumped a stone wall, crossed ploughed land and finished over two hurdles. Read about the legends and key moments that have gone down in Grand National History.

The course was founded by William Lynn, a syndicate head and proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel. He leased land in Aintree from William Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton. Lynn set out a course and built a grandstand. Lord Sefton laid the foundation stone on 7 February 1829. The race was then known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

 

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Early Grand National HIstory

The Grand National Runners 2018 come from a very long line of ultra elite horses.  There is actually much debate regarding the first official Grand National. Some leading historians, including John Pinfold, assert that the first running was in 1836 and won by The Duke. This same horse won again in 1837, while Sir William was the winner in 1838. These races have long been disregarded because of the belief that they took place at Maghull and not Aintree.

Some historians have unearthed evidence that suggest those three races were run over the same course at Aintree. Also, that they were regarded as Grand Nationals up until the mid-1860. Contemporary newspaper reports place all the 1836-38 races at Aintree although the 1839 race is the first described as “National”. To date, though, calls for the Nationals of 1836–1838 to be restored to the record books have been unsuccessful.In 1838 and 1839 three events transformed the Liverpool race from a small local affair to a national event.  That's incredible to think that this became the biggest sportsbook betting event of the calendar 

Firstly, the Great St. Albans Chase was not renewed after 1838. This left a major hole in the chasing calendar. Secondly, the railway arrived in Liverpool, enabling transport to the course by rail. Finally, a committee was formed to better organise the event.These factors led to a highly publicised race in 1839. It attracted a larger field of top horses and riders, greater press coverage and an increased attendance. Over time, the first three runnings were forgotten, securing 1839 its place in Grand National history as the inaugural race.

By the 1840s, Lynn’s ill-health blunted his enthusiasm for Aintree. Edward Topham, a respected handicapper and member of Lynn’s syndicate, began to exert his influence. He turned the chase into a handicap from a weight-for-age race in 1843. He took over the lease in 1848 and one century later, the Topham family bought the course outright.

Grand National Fact Box

It was over 40 years ago that Red Rum recorded the first of three victories in Grand National History. This earned him pride of place in the record books forever. He remains the only horse to have won three Grand Nationals and, was known to be a phenomenon.

Bred to be a sprinter, Red Rum won the grueling four-and-a-half mile chase in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He finished second on his other two starts, to become the greatest Grand National performer ever.

The Grand National Runners 2018 Horse Race is often called the world's greatest steeplechase. The race is one of the most famous steeplechases in the world. It is a unique test of horsemanship for the rider and also a test of a great significance for a horse.

 

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Before the Turn of the Century

The following year the race was held in Maghull (Still in Liverpool) This race was also won by The Duke but this time was ridden by Mr Potts as Captain Becher could not get to the course as the previous day he had been riding at St Albans, of course in those days travel was slow and it was almost impossible to get to the course. This year the race was named as Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

The following year again at Maghull was another success. The Duke was again running being ridden by captain Becher but on this occasion he finished third and the winner of the race is not clear as official records show the winner as Sir Henry however there was no horse called Sir Henry running. The race was actually won by Sir William.

The following year (1839) was to be what every official record shows as the first Grand National even though at this time it was still called the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase. The race was won by Lottery and he goes down in the history books as the first winner of the race. Captain Becher was also running that year but fell into the brook at the fence that now holds his name.

The Grand National Runners 2018 are preceded by an extraordinary history of success, failure and tragedy. 

 

Since these early years there have been many changes and stories of The Grand National horse race. In 1839 the name of the race was changed to The Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase and as the name suggests the race became a handicap race. In 1847 the race was given the title of The Grand National Handicap Steeplechase. A name it still holds today.

 

1850/1851 saw the first duel winner of the race when Abd-El-Kader was the winner on both occasions. 1869 was to see the first Grey winner, The Lamb who also went on to win the race three years later. This was nothing short of miraculous given that the horse had been suffering from a wasting disease in the time between these races. 1893 saw another remarkable story when a horse called Cloister won the race by 40 lengths.

 

In 1895 a very good horse, The Wild Man from Borneo won the race and his stuffed head is still at the course in the room that has been used to interview the winning connections.  The late 1800's also saw the greatest of all horses to run in The Grand National, the duel winner Manifesto.

Redrum Making History in 1977

After the Turn of the Centuary

Soon after the turn of the century it was a horse called Moifaa was the remarkable winner in 1904 when a ship bringing him to the race from New Zealand was lost and the horse had to swim ashore, 50 miles it was said, to an island, he was later recovered and when on not only to run in the race but to win the race.

The outbreak of the Great War was not to stop the race and it was held at the racecourse at Gatwick now the site of one of London's busiest Airports. The 1920's saw the introduction of Radio to the race when in 1927 the B.B.C. brought the race to it's biggest ever audience to date when Sprig was to be the victor.

The Second World War was to see the only interruption of the race. The race was not run between 1941 and 1945 and the course at this time was used for military purposes. In 1946 as soon as the military were gone the operation was put into place for that year's race and on the 5th of April Lovely Cottage won the 1946 Grand National.

The following year 1947 was to see the race run for the first time on a Saturday, at the request of the Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who was said to have suggested the move would be "in the interests of British industry". Caughoo was the winner that day. Up until this time the Aintree racecourse had been owned by Lord Sefton but in 1949 he sold the course to Tophams Limited for a sum of 275,000 pounds.

In 1952 the Tophams had a dispute with the B.B.C. over the radio coverage and this lead to the family doing their own commentary of the race, if anybody is ever in any doubt that race commentary is a difficult job then a brief listen to this commentary will tell you different. It can only be described as dreadful and it was soon handed back to the professionals.

1960 was the year when the B.B.C. was to show the race "live" on Television for the first time. Merryman II won that year and the B.B.C. have been doing a great job ever since. 1963 was a year of note when the horse that came 7th, bore a very well known owners colours that of the film star Gregory Peck.

1967 saw the biggest price winner; Foinavon won the race after he was the only horse to jump a very small fence in the race. There was a great pile up at the fence and this horse ridden by John Buckingham when on to score at odds of 100/1. The fence was later named after the horse.

The late sixties and early seventies saw a good number of good horses win the race, Red Alligator ridden by Brian Fletcher, Gay Tripridden by Pat Taffe, Well to Do ridden by G. Thorner, but it was 1973 when one of the greatest stories started. All the talk this year was of one of the greatest steeplechasers ever The great Crisp.

He was to carry top weight of 12 st and this he seemed to do easily. Crisp was way out in front for a long way until caught close home with a horse carrying almost 2 st less. But history was to show that then young pretender that day would turn out to be the only horse in The Grand Nationals history win follow up his win with two others and was to become the most famous Grand National horse of all time, of course it was Red Rum.

In the 1974 Grand National, Red Rum was now the top weight with 12st to carry but he won again. He was to wait another three years to taste victory again in 1977 when he became the only three times winner of the race. Between his wins he came second twice. First in 1975 to L'escargot and then in 1976 to Rag Trade.

1977 was also another landmark year as it was to see the first ever female jockey in the race, Charlotte Brew may not be a well known name in racing today but back in 1977 she was the person all the commentators wanted to interview as she has the title as being the first Woman to ride in the Grand National.

Today women are unquestionably accepted as equally competitive jockeys and the Grand National Runners 2018 will likely include a number of female Jockeys.

Pre-Millennial Grand National History of Note

Good winners of the 80's included Ben NevisGrittarHallo DandyWest Tip but two horses where going to make their connections famous in this decade. The 1981 Grand National saw a previously crocked horse making his big race entry named Aldaniti and a jockey who had recently recovered from cancer Bob Champion win the race this caused tears of joy to a whole nation of race lovers.

1983 was another landmark year when the first ever woman trainer won the race when Corbiere put Jenny Pitman's name on the role of honours. Mr Frisk won the 1990 race on fast ground in a record time. He was also ridden by an amateur, Mr. M.Armitage.

The 1991 Grand National was to see a horse called Seagram win the race. His name was the same as the race sponsors who did not own the horse. However they were asked if they wanted to purchase the horse some time before the race but declined the offer. In 1992 was another memorable winner. There was to be a general election in the UK and by coincidence this year saw a giant of a horse called Party Politics win.

The following year 1993 was again to be a landmark year as the race had to be declared void after a second false start was not heard by half of the jockeys who went on to complete a full circuit of the track. A number of jockeys actually did a second round and they did not know until the end of the four and a half miles that the race would be declared void for a false start.

This may seem strange but around this time there were a lot of protests being held on the course and the jockeys ignored the officials trying to stop them as they thought wrongly that they were protesters. The horse that finished first that day was Esha Nessnow known as the horse that won the National that never was.

The 1994 Grand National saw another famous win when top UK comedian Freddie Star's horse Miinnehoma won the race. Although Freddie was not at the course he was interviewed on the phone for the TV cameras in one of the most bizarre interviews on TV when the viewers could only here one side of the conversion that of his trainer.

The 1995 Grand National saw Jenny Pitman win the race for the second time with Royal Athlete. The 150th running of the race in 1997 was another bizarre story when a bomb scare meant that the course had to be evacuated and the race postponed until the Monday, to allow the course to be searched. The winner on this famous occasion was Lord Gyllene.

The 1998 Grand National saw the Aintree press manager win the race with his syndicated horse Earth Summit. The race in very soft ground. Earth Summit also won the Scottish and Welsh Nationals in his career. 1999 saw a remarkable father and son win the race, Tommy Carrbury a previous winner as a jockey was the trainer, saw his son Paul partner Bobby Jo to victory.

The Grand National Runners 2018 will not only be competing for the coveted grand national trophy but also to earn their place in a history as important as any!

A Big Start to the New Millennium

The year 2000 race unbelievably was the same another father and son combination win when the trainer Ted Walsh saw his son Ruby win on Papillon. 2001 Saw Red Marauder win in good style in a race ran in bottomless conditions. All the horses fell with the exception of two horses the winner and the second Smarty.

The 2002 Grand National was won in good style by Bindaree who won as so many horses do, by catching a horse on the run in. The 2003 Grand National was the turn of Monty's Pass to win the race but his win was to be overshadowed by one of his owners who had bets on the horse to win a total of over 800,000 pounds.

Grand National Fact Box

The course is nearly two and a quarter miles in length and has 16 unique fences including the famous Bechers Brook. The fences have an added problem for horses, the famous drop fences where the landing side of the fence is lower than the take off side, this means the horse approaching the fence is unaware of the drop until in the air.

At The Chair Fence the reverse of this occurs. It is the biggest fence on the course and the landing side is higher than the take off.

In the Grand National the horses have to complete almost two circuits of the course and jump 30 fences and then complete a long 494 yard run in which has been the downfall of many in the past. There are two fences that are jumped only once and this is on the first circuit and they are the famous Chair and the water jump.

 

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Historical Grand National Statistics

More Stats than you'll know how to Analyse

Important Horse Stats

  • Red Rum is the most successful horse, winning the Grand National three times: 1973, 1974 and 1977.
  • The oldest winning horse was Peter Simple, aged 15 (1853); the youngest were Alcibiade(1865), Regal (1876), Austerlitz (1877), Empress (1880), Lutteur III (1909), all aged 5.
  • Abd-El-Kaderwas the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals, in 1850 and 1851. The Colonel, (1869 & 1870), Reynoldstown (1935 & 1936) and Red Rum (1973 & 1974) have also retained the crown.
  • Moiffawon in 1904. As one of the strangest Grand National stats, he disappeared a year earlier. On a trip to Liverpool from New Zealand, Moiffa’s ship was wrecked. The horse was presumed lost at sea before turning up on an outcrop south of Ireland.
  • Golden Millerwon in 1934 and became the only horse to complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Grand National double. Garrison Savannah narrowly failed in 1991.
  • Manifestoran in more races than any other horse. Between 1895 and 1904, he ran eight races, winning two and coming third three times. He only failed to finish once.
  • Two Russian horses, Reljefand Grifel, competed in the 1961 Grand National, but neither finished. Horses from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Norway have also run with similarly disappointing results. Hungarian chaser Buszke was pulled up in 1868. While Czechoslovakian Gyi Lovam (1931), came to grief at Becher’s. He was remounted but fell again four fences later. Czech-trained EssexFraze and Quirinus carried automatic top-weight but didn’t complete. The 2000 renewal saw the first Norwegian-trained runner, Trinitro, fall at the first fence.
  • Japanese thoroughbred, Fujino-Ocaptured four consecutive renewals of the prestigious Nakayama Daishogai. He was sent to Britain to be trained for Aintree by Fulke Walwyn in 1966. He was given the automatic top-weight but failed to get competitive.

International Horses and Mares

  • Five winners were bred in France — Alcibiade(1865), Reugny (1874), Lutteur III (1909), Mon Mome (2009) and Neptune Collonges(2012). Mely Moss, runner-up to Papillon in the 2000 Grand National. The 1996 and 2015 runners-up Encore Un Peu and Saint Are, were also French bred.
  • In 1998, Earth Summit, owned by a six-strong partnership, became the first winner of the Grand National who was also successful in both the Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals.
  • Only three greys have won the Grand National – The Lamb(1868 and 1871), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and Neptune Collonges (2012). Suny Bay finished second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 and filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998. King Johns Castle was second in 2008.
  • Thirteen mares have won the Grand National, but the most recent was Nickel Coinback in 1951. Since then, the mares Gentle Moya (2nd 1956), Tiberetta (3rd 1957 and 2nd 1958), Miss Hunter (3rd 1970), Eyecatcher (3rd 1976 and 1977), Auntie Dot (3rd 1991), Ebony Jane(4th 1994) and Dubacilla (4th 1995) have all finished in the first four.
  • In 1923, Sergeant Murphybecame the first US bred horse to win. He is also the joint-second oldest horse to win, at 13, alongside Why Not (1884). The US bred Battleship, son of the famous Man o’ War, became the first (and so far only) horse to have won both the Grand National (in 1938) and the American Grand National (which he won four years earlier).
  • 1991 was the seventh and final year that the Grand National was sponsored by Seagram. Aptly, the race was won by a horse named Seagram, bred in New Zealand. 1997 saw another New Zealand-bred winner in Lord Gyllene.

 

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Important Jockey Stats

  • George Stevens is the most successful jockey in the history of the National with five wins. His final triumph came in 1870. Stevens died three months after finishing sixth in the 1871 race.
  • Together with the Lincoln Handicap run on the Flat at Doncaster, the Grand National forms leg two of the ‘Spring Double’. The only jockey to have won both contests is Dave Dick, who captured the Lincoln in 1941 and the Grand National in 1956.
  • Bruce Hobbs was the youngest jockey to have won the race. The 17-year-old triumphed aboard Battleship in 1938.
  • The late Dick Saunders is the oldest winner of the Grand National, partnering Grittar to victory in 1982. Saunders was 48 and the first member of the Jockey Club to partner a Grand National winner.
  • Brian Fletcher (1968 Red Alligator, 1973 and 1974 Red Rum) shares a 20th century record with the legendary Jack Anthony (1911 Glenside, 1915 Ally Sloper, 1920 Troytown), both jockeys having ridden three National winners.
  • Plenty of riders have won the Grand National on their first attempt. The most recent are Ryan Mania (2013 Auroras Encore), Liam Treadwell (2009 Mon Mome), Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden (2006 Numbersixvalverde), and Ruby Walsh (2000 Papillon).
  • Ruby Walsh holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, in 2000 and 2005.
Grand National 2018 Runners
The Master - Ruby Walsh

International Jockey Stats

  • Jockey William Watkinson recorded the first success for Australia in 1926. He was killed at Bogside, Scotland, less than three weeks after winning the Grand National.
  • Prince Karl Kinsky, an Austro-Hungarian nobleman, was the first jockey from outside Britain and Ireland to ride, winning on board his own mare Zoedone in 1883.
  • Tsuyoshi Tanaka, became the first Japanese jockey to ride in the Grand National in 1995, although he fell at the first fence on The Committee.
  • American amateur Tim Durant was 68 when 15th on Highlandie in 1968 (although he remounted at Becher’s second time).
  • Peter Scudamore technically lined up for thirteen Grand Nationals without winning but the last of those was the void race of 1993, so he officially competed in twelve Nationals.
  • Many other 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 completed) and Fred Rimell.
  • Three jockeys who led over the last fence in the National but lost on the run-in ended up as television commentators: Lord Oaksey (on Carrickbeg in 1963), Norman Williamson (on Mely Moss in 2000), and Richard Pitman (on Crisp in 1973). Pitman’s son Mark also led over the last fence, only to be pipped at the post when riding Garrison Savannah in 1991.
  • As a least inspiring Grand National stats, in 2012, Richard Johnson beat the record for the most rides in the National without a win. He has now ridden in the race 19 times without bettering the runner up spot in 2002 on What’s Up Boys. There are 12 other riders who have never won (or have not as yet won) the National, despite having had more than 12 rides in the race.

UNLUCKIEST JOCKEYS IN GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY

JockeyYears CompetingResultNumber of Attempts
David Casey1997-2015Finished 3rd once15
Jeff King1964-1980Finished 3rd once15
Robert Thornton1997-to dateNever top three14
Bill Parvin1926-1939Finished second once14
Tom Scudamore2001-2015Never top three14
Graham Bradley1983-1999Finished second once14
Chris Grant1980-1994Finished second three times13
Stan Mellor1956-1971Finished second once13
David Nicholson1956-1971Never top three13
George Waddington1861-1882Finished second once13
Walter White1854-1869Finished second once13
Andrew Thornton1996-2013Never top three13

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – FEMALE JOCKEYS

  • Charlotte Brew became the first in 1977. Female jockeys have participated in 19 Grand Nationals. Brew attracted media attention when partnering her horse Barony Fort. Grand National stats and figures show that she was a guest on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show and the Daily Mirror. She was also unseated in the 1982 race.
  • Geraldine Rees became the first to complete the course (albeit in last place) in 1982. She fell at the first a year later and went on to train for 12 years in Lancashire, before retiring in 2010.
  • In 2012 Katie Walsh (sister of Ruby Walsh) achieved the best placing by a woman to date – 3rd place on Seabass. In 2013, she rode Seabass as favourite, but only finished 13th. She also led up Papillon, trained by her father and ridden by Ruby to win in 2000.
  • National winning trainer, Venetia Williams, also rode in the race, falling at Becher’s first time when riding 200-1 chance Marcolo in 1988.
  • Nina Carberry, now assistant to Noel Meade, is the most experienced female rider, finishing on four of her five starts.
  • Gee Armytage had to pull up her mount, Gee-A, in 1988. A dual Cheltenham Festival-winning rider, she is the sister of Marcus Armytage – rider of the 1990 winner Mr Frisk – and became personal assistant to multiple champion jump jockey A P McCoy.
  • Rosemary Henderson finished fifth when aged 51 on her own 100/1 shot Fiddlers Pike in 1994. She subsequently wrote a book, ‘Road To The National’, about her exploits.
  • There was huge media interest in Carrie Ford when she finished fifth in 2005 on Forest Gunner. The horse was trained by her husband Richard. Ford, then 33, had given birth to her daughter 10 weeks earlier.

 

FEMALE JOCKEYS THROUGH GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY

YearJockeyHorseSPResult
1977Charlotte BrewBarony Fort200/1Refused, 26th fence
1979Jenny HembrowSandwilan100/1Fell, 1st fence
1980Jenny HembrowSandwilan100/1Pulled up, 19th fence
1981Linda SheedyDeiopea100/1Refused, 19th fence
1982Geraldine ReesCheers66/1Completed, 8th & last place
1982Charlotte BrewMartinstown100/1Unseated, 3rd fence
1983Geraldine ReesMidday Welcome500/1Fell, 1st fence
1983Joy CarrierKing Spruce28/1Unseated, 6th fence
1984Valerie AlderBush Guide33/1Fell, 8th fence
1987Jacqui OliverEamons Owen200/1Unseated, 15th fence
1988Gee ArmytageGee-A33/1Pulled up, 26th fence
1988Venetia WilliamsMarcolo200/1Fell, 6th fence
1988Penny Ffitch-HeyesHettinger100/1Fell, 1st fence
1989Tarnya DavisNumerate100/1Pulled up, 21st fence
1994Rosemary HendersonFiddlers Pike100/1Completed, 5th place
2005Carrie FordForest Gunner8/1Completed, 5th place
2006Nina CarberryForest Gunner33/1Completed, 9th & last place
2010Nina CarberryCharacter Building16/1Completed, 7th place
2011Nina CarberryCharacter Building25/1Completed, 15th place
2012Nina CarberryOrganisedconfusiong20/1Unseated, 8th fence
2012Katie WalshSeabass8/1Completed, 3rd place
2013Katie WalshSeabass11/2Completed, 13th place
2014Katie WalshVesper Bell40/1Completed, 13th place
2015Nina CarberryFirst Lieutenant14/1Completed, 16th place

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – TRAINERS

  • Vincent O’Brien trained three successive winners – all different horses – in the 1950s. The roll of honour read Early Mist (1953), Royal Tan (1954) and Quare Times (1955).
  • The last permit-holder to train the Grand National winner was the late Frank Gilman. The Leicestershire-based farmer was responsible for Grittar in 1982.
  • Jenny Pitman, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith are the only women to have trained a Grand National winner. Pitman captured the race for the first time with Corbiere in 1983. She succeeded for a second time with Royal Athlete in 1995 and finished second with Garrison Savannah in 1991. Superior Finish took third spot for the trainer in 1996. The last of her 39 runners, Nahthen Lad in 1999, came 11th. She also trained the winner of the National that never was – Esha Ness. Venetia Williams was successful with Mon Mome in 2009, whilst Sue Smith trained the 2013 winner, Auroras Encore.
  • According to Grand National stats, Fred Rimell and George Dockeray are is the most successful National trainers. Each guided four different horses to victory. Rimell trained ESB (1956), Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970) and Rag Trade (1976). Dockeray trained Lottery (1839), Jerry (1840), Gaylad (1842) and Miss Mowbray (1852). Ginger McCain also had four winners, but with two horses, Red Rum (1973, 74 and 77) and Amberleigh House (2004). His son, Donald, joined the roll of honour by training 2011 winner, Ballabriggs.
  • Fred Winter has a unique place in jump racing history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Grand National as a trainer and jockey. Winter trained two Grand National winners – Jay Trump (1965) and Anglo (1966). He partnered two victors, Sundew (1957) and Kilmore (1962) during a remarkable career.

 

INTERNATIONAL TRAINERS

  • Two French-trained horses have won the Grand National, Huntsman (1862) and Cortolvin (1867). Both were trained by Yorkshireman Harry Lamplugh, who also rode Huntsman to victory. Lutteur III, noted as a British-trained Grand National victor, held plenty of allegiance to France. His jockey Georges Parfremont and owner James Hennessy were Frenchmen. The horse only arrived at the Epsom yard of trainer Harry Escott that season to get accustomed to English racing.
  • The only Welsh-trained horse to win was Kirkland in 1905. Although, Evan Williams has remarkably had a horse placed in five consecutive renewals.
  • Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter in Roxburghshire, became the first Scottish-trained winner, with victory in 1979.
  • Irish-trained horses have enjoyed by far the most success of international participants. There were 16 winners since 1900, including six since 1999. Also, a number of Irish-bred horses (including Red Rum, Golden Miller and Many Clouds) have won under English trainers.
  • Since 1900 five successful jockeys went on to train Grand National winners as well. These are Algy Anthony, Tommy Carberry, Aubrey Hastings, Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter.
  • Martin Pipe broke many records during his training career. He had more runners in a Grand National than any other trainer. He saddled 10 of the 40-strong field in 2001, with the remounted Blowing Wind doing best in third place.

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – HORSE OWNERS

  • The Prince of Wales (King Edward VII), owned 1900 Grand National winner, Ambush II.
  • A number of other famous names have owned a National winner. These include Freddie Starr (Miinnehoma, 1994), Anne, Duchess of Westminster, (Last Suspect, 1985), Teasie Weasie Raymond (Rag Trade 1976), Gregory Peck (Different Class 1968) and Fred Pontin (Specify, 1971).
  • In 1950 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother had her first runner in the race in Monaveen. Six years later she would witness her Devon Loch collapse just yards from victory.
  • Grand National stats show Trevor Hemmings, enjoyed his hat-trick win in the race. He owns Hedgehunter (2005) Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds.
  • Hemmings is now one of the leading owners are alongside James Machell and Noel Le Mare.
  • The first success for an American came in 1923. Sergeant Murphy had been bought by John Sanford, and given to his son, who was at Cambridge University.
  • Jock Hay Whitney was one of the unluckiest owners in the history of Grand National stats. Whitney was responsible for 14 runners between 1929 and 1951. Sir Lindsay finished third in 1930 and Thomond II occupied the same position in 1934 and 1935. The multimillionaire had the opportunity to buy future dual Grand National winner Reynoldstown.
  • American sewing-machine heir F Ambrose Clark sold the seven-year-old Kellsboro’ Jack to his wife Florence for £1. Trainer Ivor Anthony thought it would bring luck. Kellsboro’ Jack, who started at 25/1, won by three lengths.
  • Jim Joel was 92 when Maori Venturi won the 1987 Grand National. Noel Le Mare was 89 when Red Rum gained his record-breaking third Grand National in 1977.
  • Bryan Burrough, a 23-year-old stockbroker owned Corbiere, who was trained by Jenny Pitman, to win in 1983. Brian Walsh was 26 when Silver Birch took the 2007 renewal.

 

2018 Grand National Colours and Silks

When picking a horse to back for the Grand National, many times the form book goes out of the window. This is often the case with ‘once-a-year’ punters preferring to keep things simple. These punters often opt for the best-looking jockey silks or even side with their favourite colours. If you follow horse racing, you’ll know that the colours a jockey wears won’t impact the chance of winning. If you’ve studied the form, you won’t care if the jockey is wearing pink polka dots on his silks. Here’s a little more on Grand National colours.

 

GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS – WHY DO JOCKEYS WEAR DIFFERENT SILKS?

The Jockey Silks Are To Help Commentators and Punters – The main reason why jockeys wear different colours is so punters (and the race commentators in the modern era) can tell the horses apart. The Jockey Club first introduced jockey silks in 1762 after many racegoers complained that they didn’t know which horses were which. Imagine having 40 horses in the Grand National and all jockeys are wearing black. You’d be none the wiser if your horses was winning, fallen or in last place!

 

WHAT DO GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS MEAN AND HOW ARE THEY CHOSEN?

In the early days of jockey silks the Jockey Club introduced plain colours to keep things simple. But in the modern era there are hundreds of different styles and colours, plus some more recognisable than others.

The silks are actually associated with the owner of each horse and not the jockeys. Therefore, if a jockey has 6 rides at a meeting on a particular day there is a good chance they will be getting changed into new silks for each race.

Once an owner registers his colours with the jockey club then each horse they own will run in those colours.

 

WHAT IF THE SAME OWNER HAS MORE THAN ONE HORSE IN THE SAME RACE?

It’s actually more common than you think. Yes, the business of owning a race horse is an expensive one. But there are also a lot of very wealthy owners in the sport that have a whole string of horses.

Therefore, there is every chance these big owners will have more than one runner in certain races – so what happens?

It’s simple, they just change the colour of the cap. So, they will run with the same main silk colours (design). But depending on how many horses that owner has in the race, each jockey will wear a different colour cap so punters can still tell them apart.

The jockey wearing the original colour cap will generally be thought to be riding what the owner thinks is his best chance in the race. But it doesn’t always pan out like that – after all this is horse racing and anything can happen!

A recent Grand National example of this would be in the 2016 running of the race as the eventual winner – Rule The World – who is owned by one of Ireland’s biggest owners – The Gigginstown House Stud. They actually had three horses in the 2016 Grand National – First Lieutenant, Sir Des Champs and the winner – Rule The World. However, the winner was actually wearing a blue cap (not the original first choice maroon star), or even the second string white cap that Sir Des Champs wore.

The other main jumps owner that punters will recognise are the green and gold horizontal stripes of popular Irish owner JP McManus. He’s won the Grand National once before (Don’t Push It, 2010), and actually had four runners in the already mentioned 2016 Grand National. So, 17.5% of the 40 runners that year were owned by either McManus or Gigginstown!

 

ARE THERE ANY LUCKY GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS?

With 40 runners heading to post each year then it’s not really the kind of race you see the same horse winning – after all the last horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals was the mighty Red Rum in the 1970’s. However, whereas we’ve not seen a repeat winner for over 40 years ,we have had an owner that’s won the race three times since 2005!

Step forward – Trevor Hemmings.

His famous green and yellow quartered silks were worn by the 2005 winner – Hedgehunter, the 2011 hero Ballabriggs and most recently in 2015 by Many Clouds. All three were trained by different stables too as Mr Hemmings likes to spread his horses around. Hedgehunter was trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, while Ballabriggs was for Donald McCain and Many Clouds gave trainer Oliver Sherwood his first Grand National winner.

 

PICKING YOUR GRAND NATIONAL WINNER BY THE JOCKEYS SILKS

Over the years, whether you are a ‘once-a-year’ punter or not you will start to remember certain Grand National colours popping up year-after-year. We’ve already mentioned the big owners like Trevor Hemmings, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud so racing fans will always latch onto horses that are running for these powerful owners.

However, some Grand National bets will simple be placed on a horse that has a jockey wearing a set of silks that stand out, or even a favourite colour. The same rule applies to certain names of horses with non-racing fans latching on to memorable names that might have a connection with their own lives. If your favourite colour is pink and you spot a horse with a jockey wearing pink then there is every chance you might be drawn to that runner.

 

SOME JOCKEYS ARE RETAINED BY CERTAIN OWNERS

Once an owner has a horse that makes the final 40 runners in the Grand National his next job is to find a jockey that will ride it. It goes without saying – just like in any sport – the top jockeys with plenty of experience, or ones that have ridden winners in the race before, will be hot property.

However, some jockeys don’t get much of a choice. Big owners – like JP McManus – might have what’s called a ‘retained jockey’ and this means that jockey will ride all their horses. Yes, if – like we’ve mentioned – that owner has a few horses in the race then that retained jockey will have a choice to make on which horse to ride – and they don’t always get it right!

Preventing Grand National Deaths | Horse & Jockey Safety and Welfare

In the build-up to the Grand National, there are always safety and welfare issues that are raised. The 2018 Grand National is expected to be no different. Since the year 2000, there have been eleven Grand National deaths. But in general, deaths in horse racing are still fairly rare. On average, one horse dies for every 250 races run. Having said that, the figures for the Grand National are a lot worse. Between the years 2000 and 2010 there were seven fatalities from the 439 horses that went to post.Over the years Aintree race officials and the British Horse Racing Authority have introduced a number of safety-related changes to the Grand National to make the race safer. This is not only focused around the horses, but also the jockeys. 40 horses running over 30 of the most demanding fences naturally comes with it’s risks. Animal welfare

organisations had long been lobbying for the race to be altered, or even banned altogether.However, in recent times, things have certainly improved on the safety and death toll front. The last of Grand National deaths being Synchronised in 2012. The 2017 race saw just four horses unseat their riders and another four fall. This means 32 either finished the race or were pulled-up without taking a tumble or losing their jockey.

GRAND NATIONAL HORSE WELFARE STATISTICS

YearRunnerUnseatsFalls
20174044
20163965
20153929
20144068
20134062
201240611

PREVENTING GRAND NATIONAL DEATHS – HORSE SAFETY MEASURES

This recent improvement has been put down to several factors. These include altering the fences and also reducing the actual length of the race.

From 2016, the Grand National distance was shortened from 4m4f (4 ½ miles) to 4m2f. The thinking behind this was to reduce the length of time it took to get to the first fence. There are 40 horses that are revved-up at the start of the race. Therefore, there was a tendency to head towards the first fence too quickly, resulting in mistakes and falls.

Other alterations to the fences have included adding in plastic inserts to make the centre of certain obstacles more forgiving. With 16 fences, 14 of which are jumped twice, these changes have clearly made a big difference. Another area the welfare campaigners have focused on in recent times has been the landing side of certain fences being lower than the take-off side. This clearly adds to the difficulty for both horse and jockey with those against it seeing this as a way of tricking the horses. To combat this the Aintree track have made various alterations to the landing side of certain key fences – like Bechers Brook – making the landing side level a lot closer to the take-off side.

The welfare surrounding the Grand National is also not just during the race, but after the contest. The Aintree track and racing officials have put ‘hosing down’ facilities in place to quickly cool down the runners.

In a race like the Grand National there is always going to be people that oppose the race. However, with changes to the length of the course and certain fences, it’s clear these have made a positive impact to the reduction of Grand National deaths in recent years .

The Grand National is billed as the world’s greatest steeplechase. The event provides a stern test for both horse and jockey. Of course, everyone inside and outside of racing wants to make the race as safe as possible, but officials also have to strike a balance that keeps the test of winning the Grand National a unique one and at the moment it looks like they are achieving just that.

 

What time is the Grand National 2018?

You can watch the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 14th April 2018 on ITV1

So, when is the Grand National 2018?

This year, the tapes go up on the 2018 Aintree Grand National Meeting on Thursday 12th April with the Grand National Start times first race at 1:45pm and broadcasting beginning for the race at 2:20pm on ITV1. The Aintree Grand National Festival is always spread over three days (Thursday-Saturday) with the Grand National staged on the Saturday. The gates open at 10:30am each day so racegoers have time to get into the course. The action continues over the three day event. Friday 13th April is Ladies Day and Grand National Day is the sell out day on Saturday 14th April 2018.

 

WHAT DATE AND TIME IS THE GRAND NATIONAL?

In recent years the Grand National start times have been put back to 5:15pm and is now shown on ITV1. The later race time is mainly to attract more viewers as when the race was run around 4pm there were generally a lot of other sporting events – like football – going on at that time too. So now you can watch the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 14th April 2018.

As the Aintree gates open around 10:30am each day, racegoers will have plenty of time to get into the course before the first race. With bars and restaurants open all day, plus corporate boxes and suites offering lunch before the racing starts, then many racegoers will flock to the track between 10:30am and 11am in order to make the most of their day.

The track will also have other entertainment going on so if you are attending the 2018 Grand National Meeting on any of the three days then be sure to explore. Generally, there are shops and stalls onsite that will sell anything things like racing fashion or racing memorabilia like pictures or books.

Also look out for competitions dotted around the track – for example ‘Best Dressed Lady’, Best ‘Dressed Man’, or ‘Best Dressed Couple’. There can often be some decent sponsors prizes for the winners, like cash or even a car! To help you plan your Grand National Day here are the expected running times for each race over the three days.

Grand National Thursday – A Day for Champions

In 2018 the opening day of the Aintree Grand National Meeting will also have a new look and feel. Grand National Thursday is set to honour the local sporting talent that’s come out of Merseyside with a ‘Champions Lounge’.The three-day Aintree gets going each year on the Thursday. Despite the crowds being nowhere near as big as Grand National Day, it’s still a hugely popular day on the jump racing calendar. The Aintree racecourse can still expect around 35,000 people to come through the turnstiles and outside the Cheltenham Festival this is one of the most popular racing days for jump racing fans. The racing gets going on Merseyside at 1:45pm and with seven top-class races to enjoy the Thursday card always attracts runners from National Hunt yards from both the UK and Ireland.

WHEN IS GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY?

The date of the Aintree Grand National Meeting can often vary and this is mainly due when Easter falls each year. In 2018 the three-day meeting is actually a bit later that usual with Easter Sunday being on April 1st this year. This is great news for both trainers and punters though as the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National Meeting in 2018 is longer than some previous years.

With the 2018 Cheltenham Festival finishing on Friday 16th March, and the opening day of the 2018 Aintree not until the 12th April then there is a full 26 days between the two. This gives horses, that would have raced at Cheltenham, a little bit longer to recover, plus it also gives trainers more time to prepare their runners – meaning there’s a much better chance we’ll see the top horses running at both these big festivals in 2018.

 WHY GO TO GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY?

The event will open day one with a new name ‘A Day For Champions’ with the main attraction being a Champions Lounge where racegoers can chat to sporting heroes from both past and present. The lounge will be hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker next to the Aintree parade ring. Q&A sessions with rumoured stars like Michael Owen, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Sharp and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek ready to mingle with the Aintree race goers.

Some say this is the BEST day on the UK Jump Racing calendar offering FOUR grade one races. A number of Merseyside sporting champions will be there for the new Opening Ceremony, and attending the new Champions Lounge. Aintree will also use this day to collaborate with the RAF for their centenary celebrations.

GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY RACE TIMES & RUNNING ORDER

 

  • 45 The Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 100,000
  • 20 The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 1f 100,000
  • 50 The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 150,000
  • 25 The Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f 200,000
  • 05 The Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase (Class 2) 2m 5f 40,000
  • 40 The Betway Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 90,000
  • 15 The Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f 45,000

 Aintree Grand National Ladies Day

The three-day Aintree Grand National Meeting continues each year on the Friday with Ladies Day. This day, in modern times has been earmarked by many as the ‘fun day’ of the the Grand National festival. Dubbed #FabulousFriday, you can expect a sea of fashion, bubbles and famous faces. With a bigger 45,000 crowd expected at the Grand National Ladies Day 2018, attendance ramps-up from the opening day. While there are high calibre races to bet on, it’s generally party-time for much of the afternoon.Of course, there is top-class racing to enjoy too with seven decent contests that start at 1.40pm. But for many of the 45,000 crowd, the attention is primarily on the other side of the track, with events like the ‘Style Award’. Style Ambassadors mingle with the crowds in the the Red Rum Garden to find the winner of this coveted award. With big prizes like cars, holidays and cash up for grabs, Grand National Ladies Day is a hugely popular day in the UK Jump racing calendar.In 2018 the day also falls on Friday 13th, so let’s hope it’s not an unlucky one for punters! In recent years, the day has also become famous for celebrities, mainly in the Liverpool and Manchester areas, making an appearance at the track – with Coleen Rooney being a current example. With many tabloid newspapers covering the day, this day has a certain hype for the who’s who of the glossy magazines.

 

WHAT IS THE GRAND NATIONAL LADIES DAY DRESS CODE?

Believe it, or not and unlike Royal Ascot Ladies Day, there is no official dress code for Ladies Day.

However, if you did turn up on Ladies day in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, not only would you feel extremely out of place there is a chance you’d not be let in anyway.

Ladies Day is called that for a reason. If you are attending then you have to get into to spirit of the day and dress up. For the ladies this means colourful dress and hats, while for the men you’ll look out of place if you are wearing anything but smart trousers a shirt and a jacket!

 

HOW MUCH DO GRAND NATIONAL LADIES DAY TICKETS COST?

With demand up, prices are also on the increase on Ladies Day. The cheapest ticket £43 for entry into the Tattersalls Stand.

This goes up to £115 for an upper seat in the Lord Sefton Stand, or if you prefer something a bit more in the middle of the Tattersalls and the Lord Sefton Stand then the Lord Daresbury or Princess Royal Roof options at £88 might appeal.

 

AINTREE LADIES DAY’ – FRIDAY 13TH APRIL 2018 RACE TIMES

  • 40 The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 4f 70,000
  • 20 The Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m ½f 100,000
  • 50 The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 100,000
  • 25 The JLT Melling Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 200,000
  • 05 The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 5f 120,000
  • 40 The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m ½f 100,000
  • 15 The Weatherbys Champion Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f 45,000

 

Getting to Aintree

Aintree Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool, just one mile from the M57 and M58, which link the M62 and M6. Follow the A59 to Liverpool and the signs as you approach the racecourse for routes to the car parks. Many races are held at Aintree, the most important of which is the Grand National. Full address: Aintree Racecourse, Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool. L9 5AS.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY CAR

  • From the South:
    Leave M6 at J21A and join M62 west. Leave M62 at J6 to join M57, follow signs for the races.
  • From the North:
    Leave M6 at J26 and join M58, follow signs for the races.
  • From Mersey Tunnel:
    Follow signs for Preston, then for A59, then signs for the races.

 

AINTREE RACECOURSE CAR PARKING

Limited on-course parking is available for the Grand National meeting. This can be booked by calling the booking line on 0844 579 3001.

Other than Steeplechase and County Car Parking, there is no other car parking in and around Aintree Racecourse. Buses, taxis, private hire and trains all operate to Aintree and special arrangements will have been made for them.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY BUS

Take bus services: 300, 311, 345, 350 and 351 both to and from Liverpool. From Bootle New Strand take route 61A. For further information on bus routes, contact Traveline or visit Mersey Travel.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY RAIL

The nearest mainline station to Aintree is Liverpool Lime Street. Liverpool Central Station is just a short walk from Lime Street, and from here you can catch a train to Aintree. Trains depart from Liverpool Central every 7 and a half minutes during the Grand National, and every fifteen minutes on race days outside of the Grand National. It takes fifteen minutes to get to Aintree on the train, and Aintree Station is directly opposite the racecourse.

Rail enquiries: 08457 48 49 50
Merseytravel: 0871 200 22 33

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY AIR

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is the nearest airport to the racecourse and is a 20 minute drive by road. Alternatively, take a bus to Liverpool South Parkway Merseyrail station where you can catch a train to Aintree (change at Liverpool Central or Moorfields onto the Ormskirk train). Manchester Airport is approximately a 45 minute drive by road.

 

Grand National Stands and Enclosures

 

GRAND NATIONAL STANDS

Aintree has five main grandstands. These include; The Princess Royal Stand, The County Stand, The Queen Mother Stand, The Earl of Derby Stand and The Lord Sefton Stand. Within the Grandstands, racegoers can purchase a choice of standing or reserved seat badges. All Grand National stands have full bar, catering and betting facilities.

 

PRINCESS ROYAL STAND

Seats: Always in popular demand, these seats offer excellent views overlooking the home straight. However, enhancements to the seats make this enclosure one of the most sought after places on the racecourse. Firstly, the enhancements include a newly extended and refurbished lounge with Champagne and Seafood concessions. The stand is situated between the Chair and the Water Jump, hence, offering a view of the final 200 metres. The seats in this stand are mostly undercover.

Roof: Is partially covered standing area, with the Tommy Wallis Suite as its dedicated bar. This enclosure offers a unique vantage point over the racecourse. It is the most suited of the Grand National stands for viewing the exciting final few minutes of every race.

 

COUNTY STAND

Roof: With a birds-eye view directly over the winning post, you can always see who’s won before anyone else. A beautiful uncovered area, as well as traditional architecture ensure this standing enclosure is popular with racegoers.

 

QUEEN MOTHER STAND

Seats: Located close to the start and finish lines and adjacent to the Red Rum Garden, the Queen Mother Stand excellent. It is completely covered, therefore protecting racegoers from the elements. Queen Mother Seats are accessed from the front of the grandstand. Grandstand badges provide designated tote betting within each enclosure, big screen viewing and access to the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure.

Queen Mother Stand Seats are the only section of Grand National stands that are also available with Winner’s Bar badges. Furthermore, the Winner’s Bar occupies the former Weighing Room. Its walls are covered with historical artefacts and tributes to Grand National legends.

Roof: Located just yards past the Grand National finish line, the Queen Mother Stand Roof offers premium standing viewing. It’s close to where the horses enter the racecourse, the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure. It’s also not far from the Red Rum Garden.

 

EARL OF DERBY AND LORD SEFTON STANDS

Seats: Open for the first time at the 2007 Grand National meeting, the Earl of Derby and Lord Sefton grandstands were designed to offer first-class viewing facilities for the 21st century spectator. Subsequently, both stands fit the brief perfectly.

 

Each of these Grand National stands provide two levels of tiered, covered seating (Upper and Lower), higher than any other seated enclosure at Aintree and hence provide breathtaking views over the entire course. Both levels permit access to a private saddle bar overlooking the horse-walk tunnel and Parade Ring, ensuring racegoers are in the hub of the day’s excitement.

Set at a unique angle, overlooking the Grand National start and finish, you probably won’t want to leave your seat all day. Finally, the tiers of seats leave you with a 360° impression of the famous course – the place to be to soak up the magic that is Aintree.

Terraces: Not to be confused with roof badges, the terraces are lower than other standing enclosures but offer a prime spot, closer to the action than anywhere else on the racecourse. Located either side of the horse walk, be the first to cheer a winner on its way back to the Winner’s Enclosure as well as witness the colourful preparations of horses and jockeys at the Grand National start.

 

WEST TIP SEATS

Part of the atmospheric Tattersalls Enclosure, these covered, temporary seats offer great views up the home straight. With a dedicated bar for West Tip seats, you can enjoy luxury, as well as explore the rest of the Tattersalls Enclosure. These seats are always in great demand, so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

 

THE TATTERSALLS ENCLOSURE

The Tattersalls Enclosure was greatly enhanced in 2007 with the completion of the new Aintree Pavilion. This new permanent facility supplies one of the largest and most atmospheric enclosures. As well as permitting access to the new Aintree Pavilion, Tattersalls tickets allow racegoers to sample bars and catering areas within the Red Rum Garden and the legendary Irish bar within the Princess Royal Stand. Tattersalls tickets also permit access for viewing of the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure, ensuring you sample the best of Aintree’s unique atmosphere during your visit.

From the Tattersalls Enclosure, racing is mainly viewed from the large Aintree Mound in front of the Aintree Pavilion. Although this facility is not undercover, it does offer great views of the horses racing up the home straight. There is large-screen TV viewing directly in front of the mound. Live music can be found in various locations within the Tattersalls Enclosure, ensuring racegoers are entertained throughout the day.

Steeplechase Enclosure
The Steeplechase Enclosure is a great place to experience the atmosphere of the Grand National. Situated on the far side of the Melling Road, this enclosure allows great viewing of the Grand National itself. A new seating facility, overlooking the Mildmay course, has been created so this Grand National Stands offers viewing of all other races. It is open on Grand National day only. There is no access to the Parade Ring or Winner’s Enclosure from this area. However this area does have its own bars, catering, betting facilities, big screen viewing and live entertainment.

 

Platinum County Lounge
The newest style bar experience at the racecourse today. This exclusive lounge area offers racegoers comfort and luxury for a special day at the Grand National. With reserved covered seats in the County Stand, overlooking the Water Jump and Winning Post, you’re therefore in prime position. You’ll receive premium benefits in this VIP facility. This exclusive area features a private entrance, a reserved seat, complimentary racecard, raceday hostess plus a souvenir badge. Last but not least, you’ll have access to a dedicated Champagne bar (open for an additional hour following the final race). Although this package is not inclusive of food or drink, there is access to the luxury catering concessions.

 

PARADE RING AND WINNER’S ENCLOSURE

The Winner’s Enclosure at Aintree has provided some of the sport’s most memorable and compelling images. Over the years, this is where ecstatic connections have greeted their returning hero. However, 2006 marked the opening of a new Parade Ring, incorporating the Winner’s Enclosure for the Grand National. The new facilities are designed to allow many more racegoers to witness these thrilling scenes.

 

CAR PARKING

There is limited car parking for a fee at the racecourse. The easiest way to reach Aintree is therefore by rail, with Aintree Station directly opposite the racecourse. Limited on-course parking is available with the Steeplechase parking being the nearest car park. This can be booked from August 2011 by calling the course’s Booking Line on 0844 579 3001.

Other than Steeplechase and County Car Parking, there is no other car parking in and around Aintree Racecourse. Buses, taxis, private hire and trains all operate to Aintree and special arrangements have been made for them.

 

DISABLED FACILITIES

The County carpark, situated next to the racecourse, is suitable for disabled parking. However, all spaces are limited, consequently, early booking is absolutely essential for access to Grand National stands. The Princess Royal Stand and Queen Mother Stand offer the best disabled facilities. There are toilets and lift access on all floors.

 

DRESS CODE

Although there is no official dress code, smart is preferable. Sports clothes and fancy dress are subsequently not permitted in the Grand National stands.

 

PICNICS

Food and drink cannot be brought onto the racecourse and will be confiscated by security staff upon arrival. Aintree has a wide range of food and drink concessions on offer in all enclosures. As a result, picnics can only be consumed in the Steeplechase Car Park.

 

OPENING TIMES

Open from 10am on each day of the meeting, get to Aintree early to make the most of your day. Make sure to allow for racecourse security procedures.

 

RACE TIMES

Thursday’s and Friday’s races start at 2pm, whilst on Saturday; racing begins at the slightly earlier time of 1.45pm. The Grand National itself is at 4.15pm. On each day, racing concludes at around 5.30pm.

 

Grand National Prize Money | Prize Fund

The Grand National is one of the world’s richest horse races in terms of Grand National Prize Money. With £1 million in total prize money again in 2018, it’s no surprise the race will attract another big field. Over the years the Aintree Grand National has had many race sponsors, Though the current supporter of the world’s Greatest Steeplechase is Randox Health.In recent years we’ve seen Canadian gin firm – Seagram Distillers – sponsor the race from 1984 to 1991. While since then we’ve had Martell (1992-2004), John Smith’s (2005-2013) and Crabbie’s (2014-2016). Plus, unlike the big championship races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle, the Grand National is a race that everyday horse racing owners have a chance of winning.Yes, they still need a touch of class and, of course, stamina to win the race. But being a handicap, this always makes the Grand National open to a variety of horses of different ability.

 

We see heavyweight owners like Trevor Hemmings, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud win the Grand National. But in recent years we’ve also seen Grand National Prize money going to the likes of Auroras Encore, Pineau De Re and One For Arthur. They are winning the race for everyday owners, that might only have a few horses running under their name.https://betkingcompare.co.uk/betting/where-can-i-get-free-bets/

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN

In the Grand National 2017, we saw the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur win the race at 14/1 for owners Deborah Thompson and Belinda McClung. These two unknown owners hit the big-time when landing the £560k first prize. With a £1million prize haul, it pays out even on the 10th-placed horse. Getting £1k for just completing the course can pay it’s way.

With 40 runners, this means only 25% of the horses will get prize money. But going down to 10th place is much further down than any other race on the racing calendar.

The winner receives a cool £561k – a life-changing amount for most horse racing owners, plus with all the spin-offs and public appearances at Grand National winner can make afterwards then many boast their earning this way too. With a £350k difference between finishing first and second, the stakes are high. Just a nose – like in 2012 when Neptune Collonges beat Sunnyhillboy can be a bitter blow for the runner-up – not just in the prestige of winning the Grand National, but also by the small sum of £350k!

Third takes home just over £100k, while 4th pockets £52k in cash, with 5th netting £26k – not a bad day’s work if you can get it!

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY JOCKEYS

In terms of the jockeys, a National Hunt rider will receive in the region of approx £169.85 over jumps per ride, which in the whole scheme of things when it comes to the Grand National is pretty insignificant. We are sure most jockeys would ride in the race for free!!

Some jockeys have personal arrangements with owners and they receive a riders’ retainers fee for riding all that owners horses. Powerful owners like JP McManus is an example of this, who has had AP McCoy riding for him in the past for a reported £1million a year.

As well as their riders’ fees, the winning jockeys will also get a percentage of the prize money. On average this is around 8-8.5% for a winning ride, or 4-5% for a placed finish. Therefore, based on this the winning jockey of the Grand National in the present day will pocket around £45k for riding the winner!

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN

1st £561,300
2nd £211,100
3rd £105,500
4th £52,700
5th £26,500
6th £13,200
7th £6,800
8th £3,600
9th £2,000
10th £1,000

 

Grand National Fences and Course

The Grand National fences are the ultimate test of horse and jockey. The race comprises two full circuits of a unique 2¼ mile (3,600 metres) course. Along the way, challengers face 30 of the most testing fences in the world of jump racing.The Grand National was originally designed as a cross-country steeplechase when it was first officially run in 1839. The runners started on the edge of the racecourse, racing out over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The gates, hedges and ditches that they met along the way were flagged. These provided them with the earliest incarnation of today’s Grand National fences to be jumped along the way.

 

Posts and rails erected at the two points where the runners jumped a brook.The runners returned 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 the second circuit and finish at 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 often refer to it as “the country”. This confuses millions of once-a-year racing viewers.Nowadays, around 150 tonnes of spruce branches from the Lake District, are used to dress the Grand National fences. Each fence used to be made from a wooden frame and covered with the distinctive green spruce. However, a radical change for the 2013 renewal saw that frame replaced by a softer material known as “plastic birch”.

 

SAFETY CHANGES TO THE GRAND NATIONAL FENCES

Following safety reviews after both the 2011 and 2012 renewals, a number of changes were made to the course. This included some reductions in Grand National fences or the drop after fences, plus the levelling of landing zones.

Since 2013, the start of the race is now 90 yards closer to the first fence. This reduced the race to four miles and three-and-a-half furlongs, from four-and-a-half miles. Measures were also introduced to stop horses getting caught up in the starting tape.

In particular, the start now includes the ‘no-go’ zone. This is defined by a line on the track extended from 15 to 30 yards from the starting tape. The starter’s rostrum has been moved to a position between the starting tape and the ‘no-go’ zone. This reduces the potential for horses to go through the starting tape prematurely.

The tapes themselves are also more user-friendly, with increased visibility. While there is now a specific briefing between the starters’ team and the jockeys on Grand National day.

The changes to the start are aimed at slowing the speed the first fence is approached at. While moving the start further away from the crowd reduces noise that can distract the horses.

The makeup of all of the Grand National fences changed significantly in 2013. The new fences are still covered in spruce, but wooden posts have been replaced by “plastic birch”. On top of that birch, there’s fourteen to sixteen inches of spruce that the horses can knock off. The outward appearance of the Grand National fences remains the same.

Other measures included £100,000 being invested in irrigation to produce the safest jumping ground possible. This includes a new bypass and pen around fence four to catch riderless horses.

 

THE START

There is a hazard to overcome even before the race starts. The build up, parade and re-girthing prior to the off lasts for around 25 minutes. This is over double the time it takes for any other race.

With 40 starters, riders naturally want a good sight of the first fence. After the long build-up, their nerves are stretched to breaking point. This means the stewards’ pre-race warning to go steady is often totally ignored.

 

THE GRAND NATIONAL FENCES

1 & 17: Thorn fence, 4ft 6in high, 2ft 9in wide – The first often claims many victims as horses tend to travel to it far too keenly. As described above, the drop on the landing side was reduced in 2011.

2 & 18: Almost the same height as the first but much wider at 3ft 6in. Prior to 1888, the first two fences were located halfway between the first to second and second to third jumps. The fence became known as The Fan after a mare refused at the obstacle three years in succession. But it lost that name when the fences were relocated.

3 & 19 Westhead: This is the first big test with a 6ft ditch on the approach guarding a 4ft 10in high fence.

4 & 20: Plain fence, 4ft 10in high and 3ft wide. In 2011, the 20th became the first fence in Grand National history to be bypassed. It followed an equine fatality on the first circuit. In 2012, it was reduced in height by 2 inches to 4 foot 10 inches (1.47 metres). It was regarded as the hardest fence on the course to jump, along with Becher’s Brook. Its landing area was smoothed out ahead of the 2013 race.

5 & 21: Spruce dressed fence, 5ft high and 3ft 6in wide. Its landing side was also levelled in 2013. It was bypassed on the final lap for the first time in 2012. Medics needed treat a jockey who fell from his mount on the first lap and had broken a leg.

 

BECHER’S BROOK

6 & 22 Becher’s Brook: Although the fence looks innocuous from the take-off side, the steep drop on the landing side, together with a left-hand turn on landing, combine to make this the most thrilling and famous fence in the horse racing world. The fence actually measures well over 6 ft on the landing side. A drop of between 5 and 10 in from take off lies on the other side. Horses are not expecting the ground the disappear under them on landing. Riders need to sit back and use their body weight to act as ballast to keep the horses stable.

As described above, there have been a number of alterations to make it fairer and safer for horse and rider. The whole field managed to clear the obstacle on the first circuit last year.

Becher’s Brook earned its name as one of the most famous Grand National fences when a top jockey, Captain Martin Becher, took shelter in the brook after being unseated. “Water tastes disgusting without the benefits of whisky” he reflected.

7 & 23 Foinavon Fence: Basically an ‘ordinary’ fence (4ft 6in high and 3ft wide) that was made famous in 1967 when Fionavon was the only horse to scramble over it at the first time of asking, following a mass pile-up. The jump is the smallest on the course. Though, coming straight after the biggest drop, it can catch horses and riders out.

THE CANAL TURN

8 & 24 Canal Turn: Made of hawthorn stakes covered in Norway spruce, it gets its name from the fact that there is a canal in front of the horses when they land. To avoid it, they must turn a full 90 degrees when they touch down.

The race can be won or lost here. A diagonal leap, taking the fence at a scary angle reduces the turn on landing. With 30 or more horses often standing at this point, not every rider has the option to take this daring passage. Before the First World War, it was not uncommon for loose horses to continue straight after the jump. They’d end up in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal itself. There was once a ditch before the fence but this was filled in after a mêlée in the 1928 race.

VALENTINE’S BROOK

9 & 25 Valentine’s Brook: The third of four famous fences to be jumped in succession. It is 5ft high and 3ft 3in wide with a brook on the landing side that’s about 5ft 6in wide. The fence was originally known as the Second Brook. But it was renamed after a horse named Valentine was reputed to have jumped the fence hind legs first in 1840.

10 & 26: Thorn fence, 5ft high and 3ft wide that leads the runners alongside the canal towards two ditches.

11 & 27 Booth: The main problem with this fence, which is 5ft high and 3ft wide, is the 6ft wide ditch on the take-off side.

12 & 28: Same size as the two previous fences, but with a 5ft 6in ditch on the landing side, which can catch runners out.

The runners then cross the Melling Road near to the Anchor Bridge. It’s 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 it was thought there was an obstacle near this point known as the Table Jump. It may have resembled a bank like those seen at Punchestown in Ireland. In the 1840s the Melling Road was also flanked by hedges and the runners had to jump into the road and then back out.

13 & 29: Second-last fence on the final circuit, it is 4ft 7in high and 3ft wide. This is the other obstacle to have had its landing side smoothed out ahead of the 2013 renewal.

14 & 30: Almost the same height as the previous fence and it is rare for any horse to fall at the final fence in the Grand National.

 

THE CHAIR

15 The Chair: The final two jumps of the first circuit form the only pair negotiated just once. They couldn’t be more different. The Chair is both the tallest (5ft 2in) and broadest fence. It has a 6ft wide ditch on the take-off side.

The landing side turf is actually raised six inches above the take-off ground. This has the opposite effect to the drop at Becher’s. After having stretched to get over the ditch, horses are surprised to find the ground coming up to meet them. This is spectacular when horses get it right and, for all the wrong reasons, when they don’t.

This fence is the site of the only human fatality in the National’s history. Joe Wynne sustained injuries in a fall in 1862. This brought about the ditch on the take-off side of the fence. The fence was the location where a distance judge sat in the earliest days of the race. On the second circuit he would record the finishing order from his position. He would declare any horse that had not passed him before the previous runner passed the finishing post as “distanced”, a non-finisher. The practise ended in the 1850s but the monument where the chair stood is still there.

The fence was originally known as the Monument Jump but The Chair came into more regular use in the 1930s.

16 Water Jump: This 2ft 9in fence brings the first circuit to an end. The sight of the runners jumping it at speed presents a terrific spectacle in front of the grandstands. The fence was originally a stone wall in the very early Grand Nationals. On the final circuit, after the 30th fence, the remaining runners bear right, avoiding The Chair and Water Jump, to head onto a “run-in” to the finishing post.

 

THE FINISH

The 474-yard long run in from the final fence to the finish is the longest in the country. It has an acute elbow halfway up it that further drains the stamina reserves of both horse and jockey.

For numerous riders, this elongated run-in has proved mental and physical agony. The winning post seems to be retreating with every weary stride.

Don’t count your money until the post is reached as with the rest of the Grand National course. The run-in can, and usually does, change fortunes. The likes of Devon Loch, Crisp and Sunnyhillboy have all famously had defeat snatched in heat breaking fashion.

 

COURSE WALKING

No visit to Aintree would be complete without taking the opportunity to see some of these famous fences close up. The whole course can actually be walked on the morning of the race (subject to ground conditions and security requirements). Walkers should leave an hour to do a circuit, which must be completed one hour prior to the first race. Maps, guiding racegoers to the start point, are located around the racecourse.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP HISTORY

Historically, the allocation of weights for the Grand National was crucial for the prospects of trainers, jockeys and owners. The Grand National Handicap has cleared the path to big-race glory or produced a burden too heavy to overcome.

Unlike the other most prestigious steeplechase of the year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National is a handicap race. This means horses carry differing weights according to their previous form. The idea behind the Grand National handicap is to make for a more even race. The handicapper’s ultimate (though unfeasible) aim is for all horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat.

The Grand National is the only race where the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, can use his discretion to determine the weights. He can personally select what each horse will carry and can deviate from the normal handicap ratings.

The “best” horse in the race is given the top weight (about 11st 10lb). The weights allotted to the other horses are set in relation to this. This means if the top-weighted horse drops out, the weights for others may alter but will not change in relation to each other.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP MINIMUMS

Even if a horse is allotted 8st 12lbs, it must carry 10 stone, the required minimum. This means some horses will be carrying possibly a stone more than they should be (known as being out of the handicap). This disadvantage should suggest they are likely to perform less well than their rivals. Many punters will automatically put a line through horses who are out of the Grand National handicap. As the quality of the horses has improved, few horses if any are running off anything other than their mark.

In allocating a weight to each horse, handicapper Phil Smith must take a variety of factors into account. This includes form – a horse’s recent/previous performances and the course: the so-called ‘Aintree Factor’. This begs the questions, does the horse like the track? Is (s)he proven over long trips?

The final field is determined by each contender’s rating. The highest-weighted horses given preference in a maximum field of 40.

Until Many Clouds, no horse carrying more than 11st 7lb had won since Red Rum‘s 1977 third victory, (11st 8lb). However, in the 25 runnings between 1984 and 2009 only one winner (Hedgehunter, 2005) carried more than 11st. The win in 2010 of Don’t Push It carrying 11st 5lb clearly heralded a change in this trend. Many Clouds shouldered 11st 9lbs.

 

CHANGES TO THE GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP

Five of the last seven winners in the Grand National Handicap have carried at least 11st. There is now a widespread view that horses at the top are no longer at a big disadvantage. In part, it’s due to a new formula for handicapping the National devised in 2001. Essentially the handicap has been compressed, decreasing the gap between the top and lowest weighted horses, creating a more competitive race.

According to Phil Smith: “Looking back over the history of the race, we realised that the highly weighted horses had a moderate record, so we thought something needed to be done to try to not overburden the better horses.”

Some 15 years ago, the Grand National field was still largely made up of horses out of the handicap. They were carrying the minimum 10st weight. On the final race card these could sometimes account for 70% of the field. But, as we’ve already said, in the past few years, every horse has got into the handicap proper. In 1999, the lowest-rated horse in the race had an official rating of 110. In the 2011 renewal, the lowest-rated horse, Golden Kite, has a rating of 135. So, the quality of the field increased by 25lbs in that 11 year period. Last year’s bottom weights had a mark of 139.

The result is that the top weighted horses will have only a few pounds more than their rivals. Officials will be giving no more than a stone and a half to any runner. It’s a far cry from a century ago, when Manifesto, the 1897 and 1899 winner, gave 48lb to some horses in the 1900 race.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP COMPRESSING

All of this means that shouldering a burden of 11st or more – previously considered insurmountable – is no longer the task it used to be. When Hedgehunter carried 11st 1lb in 2005, he was the first National winner to carry over 11st in 22 years. But 2009 winner, Mon Mome, carried 11st to win the race in a year in which the top four horses all carried 11st or more, whilst the 2010 winner – Don’t Push It – carried 11st 5lb and the runner-up – Black Apalachi – carried 11st 6lb.

In a single, idiosyncratic race like the National, there will always be outsiders. But it is likely that Aintree has seen the last of winners such as Bobbyjo who, carrying 10st in 1999 and racing from 14lbs out of the handicap, streaked to victory by 10 lengths. In fact, the recent dramatic increase in the quality of horses taking part means Bobbyjo wouldn’t have made the starting line in any of the past 10 runnings. According to Smith: “Weight is important but it’s not the be all and end all, it’s just the trainers who think it is.”

Thus, whilst Red Rum remains the last horse to win the Grand National Handicap off top weight (and the first since the 1930s), it may not be long before that achievement is repeated – 2013 winner, Neptune Collonges, was the fifth top weight, whilst only former Gold Cup winner Lord Windamere had more weight than Many Clouds.

As sporting sights go, few can match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree in the Grand National.

 

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Grand National Runners 2018 – Horses

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BLAKLION flag

Weight: 11-9 / Age: 9 / Jockey: S. Twiston-Davies / Trainer: N. Twiston-Davies
Fourth in the 2017 Grand National. Rated 9lbs higher this year, but loves these fences and has been popular in the betting since winning the Becher Chase here in December.

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TOTAL RECALL flag

Weight: 11-4 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: W. Mullins
A fast-improving chaser from a top Irish yard that won the Grand National in 2005. An easy winner over hurdles at Leopardstown to protect his handicap mark, plus too the Ladbrokes Gold Trophy Handicap back in December – runs in the race for the first time, but a big player.

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TIGER ROLL flag

Weight: 10-12 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Elliott
Pulled-up in the Irish National last season, but the winner of the 4m race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017. Will stay the trip and having finished in the top three in 10 of his 15 chase starts often runs well. Only 8 so there could be more to come.

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MINELLA ROCCO flag

Weight: 11-10 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: J. O’Neill
Was a cracking runner-up in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but hasn’t really built on that since. Dangerous to dismiss though as hails from connections and the trainer that teamed up to win this in 2010.

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THE LAST SAMURI flag

Weight: 11-7 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: K. Bailey
Was second in the 2016 Grand National, but well back in 16th 12 months ago. Rated 2lbs lower this year, but is still 10lbs higher than this second in 2016. Loves the track and fences, but could be more likely to be placed than win.

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ANIBALE FLY flag

Weight: 11-7 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: AJ Martin
Never raced at Aintree and done most of his racing in Ireland. From a shrewd stable and his Paddy Power Chase win over Christmas brings a top-level of form to the race.

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CAUSE OF CAUSES flag

Weight: 11-1 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Elliott
Runner-up in the 2017 Grand National and rated only 3lbs higher this time. Gets in with a nice weight and hails from a yard that won this race in 2007. Looks sure to go well again.

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BELLSHILL flag

Weight: 10-10 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: W. Mullins
Looks to be very well-handicapped off a mark of 148 and only 10-7 to carry. Third in the 2017 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is smart form but does need to prove he can stay this much longer trip – all runs have been over 3m1f or shorter.

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GOLD PRESENT flag

Weight: 11-3 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Henderson
Been a real improver this season. His powerful stable are still looking for their first winner in the race, but at just 8 years-old there could be more to come. Did fall in the Topham Chase, over these fences, last season though.

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RATHVINDEN flag

Weight: 10-12 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: Willie Mullins
High-class hurdler in his day. Been running with credit in decent Grade One races in Ireland. Won 4 and been placed in 7 of his 10 chase starts. From a powerful stable that won this in 2005. Looks another interesting one of those at bigger prices, but would be another that would need to prove himself over this trip.

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SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT flag

Weight: 11-9 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: S. Thompson
Was third in the 2016 Scottish National so staying the trip is not an issue. Lightly-raced for a 10 year and could be dangerous with just 10-8 to carry.

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VICENTE flag

Weight: 10-13 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: P. Nicholls
Has won the Scottish National twice before and owned by Trevor Hemmings, who has won this race three times in the past. Unseated at the first fence 12 months ago and has fallen/unseated in 3 of this last 8. A player, but needs to might need to jump better.

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REGAL ENCORE flag

Weight: 10-12 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: A. Honeyball
Ran a gallant 8th in the Grand National in 2017. Gets in off the same mark so every chance again, but if he couldn’t win it last year off this rating (beaten 28 lengths) he’ll need to improve.

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UCELLO CONTI flag

Weight: 10-9 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Elliott
Had his supporters in the race 12 months ago, but unseated at the 22nd fence when in mid division. Rated 2lbs lower this year so every chance of going well. Was also fourth in the 2016 Becher Chase over these fences.

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GAS LINE BOY flag

Weight: 10-10 / Age: 12 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: I. Williams
Has winning form over the Grand National fences when winning the Grand Sefton here in December. Light weight, but not getting any younger at 12 – since 1996 we’ve seen just one winner aged 12.

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VIEUX LION ROUGE flag

Weight: 10-12 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: D. Pipe
Was sent off a well-fancied 12/1 for the race in 2017. Was a fair 6th that day, but beaten 27 lengths. Only rated a pound higher and has winning form over these fences (2016 Becher Chase). Stronger horse now and could be dangerous if bouncing back to form.

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PLEASANT COMPANY flag

Weight: 10-10 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: W. Mullins
9th in the Grand National in 2017 and off a pound lower mark would have a chance of improving on that run. Debatable whether he got home though 12 months ago.

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I JUST KNOW flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: S. Smith
An improving 8 year-old chaser that gets in with a light weight. From a yard that’s won this race before and should get the trip, having won over 3m5f last time. Looks one of the better outsiders.

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RAZ DE MAREE flag

Weight: 10-8 / Age: 13 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Cromwell
8th in the 2014 running and unseated in the 2017 Grand National. At 13 years-old he’s likely to find some younger legs improve past him. However, staying will be fine and he did turn back the clock to win the Welsh National this season at Chepstow.

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VINTAGE CLOUDS flag

Weight: 10-3 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: S. Smith
From a yard that’s won this race before. Fourth in the Welsh National and has won at Aintree in the past. A very consistent sort, but does tend to finish second more times than winning. One for the shortlist from the bigger-priced runners.

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BUYWISE flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 11 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: E. Williams
The yard has never won the race, but had many placed in it. Not getting any younger at 11, but with 10-4 gets in with a very light weight. Well-handicapped on old form - was 12th in the 2016 running of this race off 6lbs higher.
 

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MILANSBAR flag

Weight: 10-5 / Age: 11 / Jockey: Bryony Frost / Trainer: N. King
Won the Classic Chase at Warwick in January, but failed to follow-up off a 9lb higher mark next time in the Eider Chase. Not the most consistent, but has been second over 4m1f in the Midlands National so getting the trip is fine. Might want soft ground though.

 

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THE DUTCHMAN flag

Weight: 10-10 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: C. Tizzard
Won the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January, but pulled-up in the Grand National Trial since. Only had 8 chase runs and been placed in the top 3 in 6 of those. Acts on most ground and does have the form to run with credit.

 
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WARRIORS TALE flag

Weight: 10-11 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: P. Nicholls
Would need to prove he gets the trip, but could be interesting. Bought by leading Grand National owner – Trever Hemmings – recently and hails from the Paul Nicholls yard that won this in 2012. Nice weight with 10-8 and could go well if taking to the fences.

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BLESS THE WINGS flag

Weight: 10-5 / Age: 13 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Elliott
Likes these sort of fences – often goes well in the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival, but at 13 years-old looks too old.

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SHANTOU FLYER flag

Weight: 11-1 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: R. Hobson
Often finishes second! Has run some solid races this season but has won just 1 of his last 16 races. Only 8 years-old so has time on his side, however, pulled-up in the 2017 race too when hampered. 3lbs lower this year.

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ALPHA DES OBEAUX flag

Weight: 11-3/ Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: M. Morris
Ran second in the 2016 Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and has since been 8th in the 2017 Irish National. Another classy Irish runner that is often seen in Graded races, while his yard took this race in 2016 for the same connections.

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BAIE DES ILES flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 7 / Jockey: Katie Walsh / Trainer: R. O'Sullivan
Been running well in Ireland and improved a lot for the step up in trip to 3m4f last time. But only a 7 year-old so might be one for the future – the last 7 year-old to win the Grand National was in the 1940’s!

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CARLINGFORD LOUGH flag

Weight: 11-0 / Age: 12 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: J. Kiely
Former winner of the Grade One Punchestown Gold Cup and has run well in some top races during his career. Another of the old brigade though at 12, so likely to find some younger legs get the better of him.

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FINAL NUDGE flag

Weight: 10-5 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: D. Dennis
Could be dangerous with only 10-2 to carry. Third in the Welsh National and actually 2lbs lower here. Acts on most ground and finished in the top three in 7 of this 10 chase starts.

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LORD WINDERMERE flag

Weight: 11-11 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: F. O’Brien
Won the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup and was 7th in this race 12 months ago. 12 years-old now, but rated 3lbs lower than last year and off just 10-3 could be dangerous. A high-class chaser in the past and if retaining any of that ability looks one of the more interesting of the longer-priced runners.

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SAINT ARE flag

Weight: 10-9 / Age: 12 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: T. George
Ran another blinder in the race last year (3rd) and was second in 2015. 12 years-old now, but loves this race and these fences so although he’s likely to find a few too good again, does look a good e/w option – races off the same rating as last year (3rd).

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VALSEUR LIDO flag

Weight: 11-6 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: H. de Bromhead
Classy on his day, but a horse that has had his issues over the years. Would be dangerous to rule out if finding his old form, but hasn’t really shown signs he will based on recent runs.

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CHASE THE SPUD flag

Weight: 11-11 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: F. O’Brien
Pulled-up in both the Welsh National and the Eider Chase this season. A very light weight (10-8) would make him dangerous to rule out and these owners have often done well in the race.

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DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR flag

Weight: 10-4 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: S. Smith
The yard won the 2013 Grand National. Another that likes to race up with the pace and with just 10-1 will feel like he’s got a feather weight. Got tired over 4m1f last time, but did have 11-12 that day. Could surprise at fair odds.

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GO CONQUER flag

Weight: 10-13 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: J. O’Neill
His yard won this race in 2010 so know what’s required. Like to front run, so weill at least be staying out of trouble. Needs to prove himself over this longer trip though and last win came off a 9lb lower mark.

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THUNDER AND ROSES flag

Weight: 10-4 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: M. Morris
From the Mouse Morris yard that won this in 2016. Unseated at the 9th in the 2017 Grand National when badly hampered by a loose horse. 2lbs lower this year and off 10-1 gets in with a light weight.

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ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS flag

Weight: 10-12 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: W. Mullins
Often well-fancied for his races and was a 32 length Grade One winner at Navan last season. However, has been a beaten favourite many times this season and often flattered. The trip would also be a huge unknown and despite having bits of top form also looks an unreliable sort.

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ROAD TO RICHES flag

Weight: 10-4 / Age: 11 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Meade
Talented chaser on his day, but at 11 years-old is not getting any younger. Not been firing of late either – so is age finally catching up with him?

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THE YOUNG MASTER flag

Weight: 9-11 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Mulholland
Starting to look very well-handicapped. Won the 2016 Bet365 Gold Cup off 148 and is now rated 135. 6th in the Becher Chase this year gave him more experience of the fences, but did fall – when still in touch - in this race in 2017. Looks interesting.

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CHILDREN'S LIST flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: W. Mullins
Only had a handful of runs over fences so that would be a worry. Fair bits of form, but pulled-up in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February.

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PENDRA flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: C. Longsdon
Looks to have a nice weight and ran a blinder to be 2nd in the 2017 Kim Muir at Cheltenham. 13th in the 2016 Grand National too – but beaten over 100 lengths that day and only a pound lower. Acts on most ground.

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SPLASH OF GINGE flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: W. Mullins
A decent handicapper that won the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham this season. Would need several to come out of the race to get in though, plus this extreme trip would be a huge unknown.

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AS DE MEE flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: P. Nicholls
Unseated in the Becher Chase here in December so that’s a slight worry, but has also been 5th in a Topham Chase (2017) and won the 2016 Grand Sefton over these fences. Improving chaser and with his course experience dangerous to rule out.

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A GENIE IN ABOTTLE flag

Weight: 10-11 / Age: 7 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Meade
Ran well to be second in the BobbyJo Chase at Fairyhouse in February and if building on that has a chance, but might be another with a bit to prove over the trip.

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PERFECT CANDIDATE flag

Weight: 11-2 / Age: 11 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: F. O'Brien
Another of the older brigade at 11 years-old. Was pulled up in the 2017 race though and only 2lbs lower this time. Does, however, have 6lbs less to carry this time and was a good winner at Cheltenham in Nov over 3m3f so should be fine over the trip. Could be dangerous to rule out of the bigger-priced runners.

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BONNY KATE flag

Weight: 10-0 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Meade
Only 8 years-old so could be one for the future. Not been firing this season though – having been pulled-up in 3 of her last 4 races and would also need a lot of horses to come out of the race to get in.

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BRAQUEUR D'OR flag

Weight: 9-13 / Age: 7 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: P. Nicholls
A promising young chaser that ran a blinder to be 4th in the Ladbrokes Gold Trophy this season at Newbury – beaten just 13 lengths behind Total Recall. Only 7 years-old though and the last horse aged 7 to win the National was in the 1940’s.

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CAPTAIN REDBEARD flag

Weight: 10-6 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: S. Coltherd
A real stayer that won the Tommy Whittle Chase this season at Haydock. 9lbs higher for that win but wasn’t disgraced when second in the Peter Marsh off this rating next time. Was 6th in the Grand Sefton so has handled these fences and with a light weight is another of the bigger-priced runners that could surprise.

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DOUBLE ROSS flag

Weight: 10-5 / Age: 12 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Twiston-Davies
Likes to race up with the pace, but at 12 years-old is not getting any younger. Pulled-up in the 2016 race but is rated 7lbs lower this time. Hard to get too excited but does hail from a yard that have done well in the race – winning it twice before.

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MINELLA DADDY flag

Weight: 9-13 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: P. Bowen
This 8 year-old is an improving chaser that ran a solid second in a Listed Chase at Ascot in Feb. Lightly-raced over fences so there should be more to come and his yard – despite never winning the National – often do well at the track.

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BEEVES flag

Weight: 10-9 / Age: 11 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: J. Candlish
Has done well for an older horse over the last few years. Also has a good win-to-runs ratio over fences. First time over these fences though and would need to prove stamina over this trip.

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MAGGIO flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 13 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: P. Griffin
13 years-old now and it’s rare horses this old win the National. Stamina to prove too with most runs around 3m or shorter.

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VIC DE TOUZAINE flag

Weight: 10-1 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: V. Williams
The Venetia Williams yard won the Grand National with a 100/1 shot in 2009 so you never know! Doesn’t have a bad chase record – being placed in the top three in 7 of his 12 starts but hasn’t set the world alight yet this season.

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VIRGILIO flag

Weight: 10-7 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: D. Skelton
Would get in with a light weight which is a plus. Has also run well at Aintree in the past (Mildmay course). Also best on good ground so conditions will be key on the day.

 
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COGRY flag

Weight: 10-0 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Twiston-Davies
Another from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard that have done well in this race. Used to be a suspect jumper but has ironed a lot of those issues out. Stays well but unseated in the 2016 Becher Chase over these fences so that would be a worry.

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PHIL'S MAGIC flag

Weight: 9-9 / Age: 8 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: T. Martin
From a shrewd yard. Was sixth behind Total Recall at Leopardstown in February but has only won once over fences from 19 starts and this would be his first try over these fences.

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WOUNDED WARRIORflag

Weight: 10-1 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: N. Meade
Would need quite a few to come out of the race to get in. Pulled-up in the 2017 race but is a massive 14lbs lower this time.

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MYSTEREE flag

Weight: 10-0 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: M. Scudamore
Staying is his game. Won the 2017 Eider Chase over 4m and was second in the Midlands National that year too. Would probably want the ground soft though – if it did then could outrun his odds.

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GENERAL PRINCIPLE flag

Weight: 10-1 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Elliott
From a top yard that won this in 2007. Would need a fair few to come out of the race but looks to be running into form after a solid 4th at Leopardstown last time out. Was also 5th in the Irish National in 2017 so staying the trip will be fine. If getting in the race, one to consider of the bigger-priced runners.

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KNOCK HOUSE flag

Weight: 9-12 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: D. McCain
A useful horse on his day but has had his issues. Returned at Musselburgh recently with a fair 6th of 11. Should improve for that, however, has been pulled up on his last two visits to Aintree.

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ROGUE ANGEL flag

Weight: 9-8 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: M. Morris
From the yard that won this in 2016. Been poor this season though and would need a lot to come out of the race to get in.

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HOUBLON DES OBEAUX flag

Weight: 10-6 / Age: 11 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: V. Williams
Another from the Venetia Williams yard that has won this race before. A decent stayer on his day and was 10th in this race in 2017. Is 5lbs lower this time and with just 10-3 would have a featherweight for a horse that is a proven stayer.

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TENOR NIVERNAIS flag

Weight: 11-0 / Age: 11 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: V. Williams
17th in the race 12 months ago and gets in off the same mark – therefore, hard to get too excited about, but softer ground might help his cause.

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OUT SAM flag

Weight: 9-6 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: G. Elliott
Now with the powerful Gordon Elliott yard, but is on a long losing run now and also unlikely to get into the race.

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RELENTLESS DREAMER flag

Weight: 9-13 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: R. Curtis
Ran well in a Grade Three Chase at Kempton in Feb. Also ran a solid third over 4m1f at Musselburgh this season so staying will be fine. Would have an outside chance but would need several to come out of the race.

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ALFIE SPINNER flag

Weight: 9-13 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: R. Curtis
Stays well and has run well in many staying races over his career. Turned back the clock at 13 years-old to be 2nd in the Welsh National this season so you never know! Would ideally want soft ground and we don’t see many 13 years-old winning the National!

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KRACKATOA KING flag

Weight: 9-3 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: K. Lee
Another that would need a lot to come out to get in and even if he did would probably be running out of the handicap too – which would make his task even harder!

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DANCING SHADOW flag

Weight: 9-8 / Age: 9 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: V. Dartnall
Was 12th in the Scottish National in 2017 but is 7lbs lower here. Has won over 4m1f so will get the trip, but unlikely to get into the race.

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SIR MANGAN flag

Weight: 10-0 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: D. Skelton
Dan Skelton-trained but pulled-up in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time. Better ground would suit though and has won this season.

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GOODTOKNOW flag

Weight: 11-3 / Age: 10 / Jockey: ? / Trainer: K. Lee
Not been running well this season and pulled-up in the Becher Chase over these fences in Dec. Unlikely to get into the race though.

 
 

Where is the smart money going?

Blaklion currently heads the 105 entries for the 2018 Grand National and at this stage can be backed around 10/1* to win the race. This Nigel-Twiston-Davies-trained 9 year-old was fourth in the 2017 Grand National and has returned this season better than ever. We last saw him winning the Becher Chase – a race that is also run over the National fences at Aintree – in December. He carried 11-1 to be fourth 12 months ago off a mark of 152, so we can expect the handicapper to have his rating to a similar level this time. The horse’s next target is in the Haydock Grand National Trial (Feb 17th) before heading to the National as the favourite of the Grand National Runners – here’s what his trainer – Nigel Twiston-Davies – said after his Becher Chase victory:

“You want 7-4 to get round, don’t you? It’s a relief. It’s what we hoped for and what we expected. Blaklion didn’t quite get home in the National but we could see in the National that his fencing was superb. He’s got this Red Rum-type of way of getting over the fences, he’s small but very agile and accurate. I’m sorry to use his name but he reminds me of Red Rum, though he’s got a lot do to be anything like him! He was only beaten eight lengths last year (in the National) and he has another year under his belt. Other things will pop out of the woodwork I’m sure but he must have a very good chance if we ride him with more restraint like we did today. We have only got eight lengths to find. He will probably wait until the Grand National Trial at Haydock, then the National” – Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer. (Racing Post)

Twiston-Davies, who don’t forget has won the Grand National twice before, also has Bristol De Mai, Splash Of Ginge and Flying Angel amongst the 105 entries. Blaklion beat another Grand National stalwart in recent years – The Last Samuri – by 9 lengths in this season’s Becher Chase and is another that has the Merseyside marathon as his target. This Kim Bailey-trained runner was 16th in the 2017 National, but also runner-up in 2016 behind Rule The World. He continued his preparation for the Grand National with a fine fourth in the Cotswold Chase behind Definitly Red at Cheltenham on January 27th and at 20/1 in the betting he’s sure to be popular again on the day.

“That confirmed The Last Samuri not a Gold Cup horse and that’s why we came here. He was flat out but has still run a very good race. He’ll more than likely go straight to the Grand National now” – Kim Bailey, trainer (Racing Post)

Definitly Red is another big player ahead of the 2018 Grand National. He was well-fancied in the 2017 renewal, but was pulled before the 9th fence after being badly hampered in the race. This 9 year-old has certainly improved this season and was very impressive in winning the Grade Two Cotswold Chase in January. With around 4 weeks between the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the National this year he should have plenty of time to take in both races. He’s around 20/1* in the Grand National betting market, while his trainer – Brian Ellison feels he’s the best he’s ever trained.

“I thought the other horse (American) was going better, but Danny took a pull to lie a couple of lengths off him and when he gave him a kick in the belly he took off. Definitely Red just got better every year and the plan this year was to keep him fresh. Today would tell us if we went for the Gold Cup, so we’ll go now. He wants good ground, I think he’ll be better on it as he’s not short of speed. He just doesn’t like it tacky. It’s a good place to have a winner. You’ve got to have a good horse to come here and he’s the best I’ve ever trained” – Brian Ellison, trainer. (Racing Post)

The current British champion trainer – Nicky Henderson – is yet to win the Grand National but has three entries at this stage. Gold Present, who won well at Ascot in December, looks the best hope at around 25/1 in the betting. The form of that Ascot win has since been franked with the second – Frodon – winning easily at Cheltenham in January.

“Gold Present is a proper steeplechaser. He’s a very good jumper – that’s what he’s good at so you have to make sure you use it. He stays well but he’s not shy of a gear or two” – Nicky Henderson, trainer. (Racing Post)

Vyta Du Roc, who won well in the first-time cheekpieces at Cheltenham in January, and O O Seven are Henderson’s other entries.

The Irish Challenge – Grand National Runners

Of the 105 entries, Ireland’s champion trainer – Willie Mullins – is responsible for 10. In total, the Irish have 40 of the 105 entries, so Mullins-trained runners account for 25% of all the Irish horses.

Mullins has won the Grand National once before (Hedgehunter, 2005) so knows what’s required. Poldam and Rathvinden are two of his leading fancies, but the improving Total Recall looks his main player. This 9 year-old ticks a lot of boxes and it was interesting that connections ran him over hurdles last time at Leopardstown to keep his chase handicap mark down. They clearly wanted to get a run into him, but to save his chase mark running over hurdles could turn out to be a shrewd move. The horse dotted-up in that 3 mile Leopardstown race by 3 lengths and is generally second favourite in the Grand National Runners betting at 16/1*.

Don’t forget Total Recall also won the Ladbrokes Gold Trophy (Hennessy) this season at Newbury, beating the useful Whisper by a neck. He’s a big player at this stage, but he’s also entered in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so a lot will depend on how he fares in that race.

Gordon Elliott, who won the Grand National in 2007 with Silver Birch, is the other main Irish trainer and also has 10 of the 105 entries. Mala Beach and Outlander, who ran a close second in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February, look his main players – Mala Beach is around 40/1* and Outlander is 33/1*.

The 10 year-old Outlander is owned by Gigginstown House Stud, who took the Grand National in 2016 for the first time with Rule The World, and is one of 11 entries for these powerful owners.

Other leading owners to note are JP McManus, who won the race with Don’t Push It in 2010 wearing his famous green and gold colours. He’s got seven of the 105 entries, including the 2017 runner-up Cause Of Causes (25/1*), the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup second – Minella Rocco (20/1*) and Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Anibale Fly. Mouse Morris is another of the Irish yards to have had success in the race in recent times. He won the Grand National in 2016 with Rule The World and will be looking to follow-up with Rogue Angel and Thunder And Roses, who are his entries.

Back on the domestic front, trainer Paul Nicholls is another handler that’s won the race recently. He took the prize for the first time in 2012 with Neptune Collonges and has six entered. Vicente (33/1*), who already has a National to his name – the Scottish version – looks his main hope. He hopes to give owner Trevor Hemmings his fourth win in the race. His 9 year-old was well-fancied for the 2017 Grand National, but fell at the first. Hemmings also has Welsh National fourth – Vintage Clouds (50/1*) – entered.

The winner of that Welsh National – Raz De Maree (50/1*) – is another who holds an entry, but this 13 year-old will be looking to become the oldest Grand National winner since Sergeant Murphy landed the prize in 1923!

John Baker, Regional Director, The Jockey Club Racecourses North West, said: “We are delighted with the excellent quality of entries for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National, which once again offers a total prize fund of £1 million.

“It is also pleasing to break the 100-barrier for the fourth time in five years in terms of the number of entries and we continue to receive very strong support from Ireland.

“The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival offers record prize money of £3.21 million and preparations are well underway at Aintree for what will be an outstanding three days of racing.

“We are now eagerly anticipating the unveiling of the weights for the world’s greatest chase, with the surroundings of BAFTA in London providing a suitably prestigious backdrop.” (Jockey Club Racecourses)

*All odds at time of publishing. All subject to change.

Grand National Runners 2018

HorseAgeOwnerTrainerWeightRating
A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (IRE)7Gigginstown House StudNoel Meade IRE10-08149
ABOLITIONIST (IRE)10M Albon, J A Provan & C E StedmanDr Richard Newland10-04145
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR)8Slaneyville SyndicateWillie Mullins IRE10-09150
ALFIE SPINNER (IRE)13Alan Beard & Brian BeardKerry Lee9-06133
ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR)8Gigginstown House StudMouse Morris IRE11-00155
AMERICAN (FR)8The Jago Family PartnershipHarry Fry11-02157
ANIBALE FLY (FR)8J P McManusTony Martin IRE11-04159
ARBRE DE VIE (FR)8Susannah RicciWillie Mullins IRE9-11138
AS DE MEE (FR)8The Stewart Family & Judi DenchPaul Nicholls10-08149
BAIE DES ILES (FR)7Mrs Z WentworthRoss O’Sullivan IRE10-04145
BALLYALTON (IRE)11John WestwoodIan Williams9-11138
BEEVES (IRE)11Paul & Clare RooneyJennie Candlish10-06147
BELLSHILL (IRE)8Andrea & Graham WylieWillie Mullins IRE10-07148
BLAKLION9S Such & C G PalettaNigel Twiston-Davies11-06161
BLESS THE WINGS (IRE)13Adrian Butler/S P O’ConnorGordon Elliott IRE10-02143
BONNY KATE (IRE)8Patricia HuntNoel Meade IRE9-11138
BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR)7Corsellis & SeyfriedPaul Nicholls9-10137
BRAVISSIMO (FR)7Susannah RicciWillie Mullins IRE9-05132
BRISTOL DE MAI (FR)7Simon Munir & Isaac SouedeNigel Twiston-Davies11-09164
BUYWISE (IRE)11T Hywel JonesEvan Williams10-04145
CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE)9Stuart ColtherdStuart Coltherd10-03144
CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE)12J P McManusJohn Kiely IRE10-11152
CAROLE’S DESTRIER10Mrs C SkipworthNeil Mulholland10-05146
CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA)10J P McManusGordon Elliott IRE10-12153
CHASE THE SPUD10Mrs C BanksFergal O’Brien10-08149
CHILDRENS LIST (IRE)8Susannah RicciWillie Mullins IRE10-04145
COGRY9Graham and Alison JelleyNigel Twiston-Davies9-11138
DANCING SHADOW (IRE)9The Dancing ShadowsVictor Dartnall9-05132
DEFINITLY RED (IRE)9Phil & Julie MartinBrian Ellison11-10165
DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE)8McGoldrick Racing 3Sue Smith10-01142
DOUBLE ROSS (IRE)12Options O SyndicateNigel Twiston-Davies10-02143
EDWULF9J P McManusJoseph O’Brien IRE11-09164
FINAL NUDGE (IRE)9Corbett StudDavid Dennis10-02143
FLYING ANGEL (IRE)7R J RextonNigel Twiston-Davies10-07148
GAS LINE BOY (IRE)12The Three GracesIan Williams10-07148
GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE)9Gigginstown House StudGordon Elliott IRE9-12139
GO CONQUER (IRE)9Paul & Clare RooneyJonjo O’Neill10-10151
GOLD PRESENT (IRE)8John & Barbara CottonNicky Henderson11-00155
GOODTOKNOW10Burling Lee MacEchern Nolan PotterKerry Lee11-00155
HENRI PARRY MORGAN10Ednyfed & Elizabeth MorganPeter Bowen9-06133
HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR)11Mrs Julian BlackwellVenetia Williams10-03144
I JUST KNOW (IRE)8M B Scholey & The Late R H ScholeySue Smith10-04145
KNOCK HOUSE (IRE)9Tim LeslieDonald McCain9-09139
KRACKATOA KING10J C Harrison Lee & T Howard PartnershipKerry Lee9-00127
LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE)10Carl HinchyDan Skelton10-05146
LORD WINDERMERE (IRE)12Dr Ronan LambeJim Culloty IRE10-03144
MAGGIO (FR)13Douglas Pryde/James BeaumontPatrick Griffin IRE10-04145
MALA BEACH (IRE)10Chris JonesGordon Elliott IRE11-03158
MILANSBAR (IRE)11Robert BothwayNeil King10-02143
MINELLA DADDY (IRE)8Roddy Owen & Paul FullagarPeter Bowen9-10137
MINELLA ROCCO (IRE)8J P McManusJonjo O’Neill11-07162
MISSED APPROACH (IRE)8Alan & Andrew TurnerWarren Greatrex9-11138
MORNING ASSEMBLY (IRE)11Clipper Logistics Group LtdPat Fahy IRE10-02143
MYSTEREE (IRE)10Lynne MaclennanMichael Scudamore9-11138
NOBLE ENDEAVOR (IRE)9Chris JonesGordon Elliott IRE10-13154
O O SEVEN (IRE)8Christopher HanburyNicky Henderson10-11152
OUT SAM9D CharlesworthGordon Elliott IRE9-03130
OUTLANDER (IRE)10Gigginstown House StudGordon Elliott IRE11-08163
PAIROFBROWNEYES (IRE)9Fibbage SyndicateWillie Mullins IRE9-10137
PENDRA (IRE)10J P McManusCharlie Longsdon10-04145
PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE)11ISL RecruitmentFergal O’Brien10-13154
PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE)8Lyreen SyndicateTony Martin IRE9-06133
PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE)10Malcolm C DenmarkWillie Mullins IRE10-07148
POLIDAM (FR)9Simon Munir/Isaac SouedeWillie Mullins IRE10-05146
POORMANS HILL (IRE)7V Caldwell/Mrs K CaldwellGordon Elliott IRE10-05146
RATHVINDEN (IRE)9Ronnie BartlettWillie Mullins IRE10-09150
RAZ DE MAREE (FR)13James J SwanGavin Cromwell IRE10-05146
REGAL ENCORE (IRE)10J P McManusAnthony Honeyball10-09150
RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE)9Nigel MorrisRebecca Curtis9-10137
ROAD TO RICHES (IRE)11Gigginstown House StudNoel Meade IRE10-01142
ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE)8Diana WhateleyPhilip Hobbs10-08149
ROGUE ANGEL (IRE)10Gigginstown House StudMouse Morris IRE9-05132
SAINT ARE (FR)12David FoxTom George10-06147
SAMETEGAL (FR)9John & Barbara CottonPaul Nicholls10-00141
SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT10Mrs A M ThomsonSandy Thomson10-08149
SHANTOU FLYER (IRE)8Carl HinchyRichard Hobson10-12153
SILSOL (GER)9Michelle And Dan MacdonaldPaul Nicholls10-03144
SIR MANGAN (IRE)10Frank McAleavyDan Skelton9-11138
SIZING CODELCO (IRE)9Ann & Alan Potts LimitedColin Tizzard10-13154
SPLASH OF GINGE10Jim NeildNigel Twiston-Davies9-11138
SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE)9Gigginstown House StudHenry de Bromhead IRE11-05160
TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR)11Boultbee Brooks LtdVenetia Williams10-11152
THE DUTCHMAN (IRE)8SprayClad UKColin Tizzard10-07148
THE LAST SAMURI (IRE)10Paul & Clare RooneyKim Bailey11-04159
THE YOUNG MASTER9Mike Burbidge & The Old MastersNeil Mulholland9-08135
THEBARROWMAN (IRE)8D KeysAdrian Keatley IRE9-04131
THIRD INTENTION (IRE)11Robert and Sarah TizzardColin Tizzard10-03144
THREE FACES WEST (IRE)10Paul & Clare RooneyPhilip Hobbs10-03144
THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE)10Gigginstown House StudMouse Morris IRE10-01142
TIGER ROLL (IRE)8Gigginstown House StudGordon Elliott IRE10-09150
TOTAL RECALL (IRE)9Slaneyville SyndicateWillie Mullins IRE11-01156
TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR)8Galloping On The South Downs PartnershipGary Moore10-10151
UCELLO CONTI (FR)10Simon Munir/Isaac SouedeGordon Elliott IRE10-06147
VALSEUR LIDO (FR)9Gigginstown House StudHenry de Bromhead IRE11-03158
VIC DE TOUZAINE (FR)9A Brooks & G MooreVenetia Williams9-12139
VICENTE (FR)9Trevor HemmingsPaul Nicholls10-10151
VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR)9Prof Caroline Tisdall & John GentDavid Pipe10-09150
VIEUX MORVAN (FR)9M L BloodstockJoseph O’Brien IRE9-12139
VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE)8Trevor HemmingsSue Smith10-00141
VIRGILIO (FR)9C J Edwards, D Futter, A H RushworthDan Skelton10-04145
VYTA DU ROC (FR)9Simon Munir & Isaac SouedeNicky Henderson10-06147
WALK IN THE MILL (FR)8Baroness HardingRobert Walford10-00141
WARRIORS TALE9Michelle And Dan MacdonaldPaul Nicholls10-08149
WILD WEST WIND (IRE)9Simon W ClarkeTom George10-03144
WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE)9Gigginstown House StudNoel Meade IRE9-12139

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Grand National Runners 2018 Guide

 
cheltenham festival

Cheltenham Festival 2018 bets, tips and odds | everything you need to know about Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Tips (Tuesday)

13:30: Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2m ½f

To win - Summerville Boy (N D Fehily) 9-1 

Result - Correct

 

14:10: Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase 2m

To win - Footpad (R Walsh) 5-6

Result - Correct

 

14:50: Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 1f

To win - Coo Star Sivola (Lizzie Kelly) 5-1 

Result - Correct

 

15:30: Unibet Champion Hurdle 2m ½f

To win - Buveur D'Air (B J Geraghty) 4-6

Result - Correct

 

16:10: OLBG Mares' Hurdle Race 2m 4f

To win - Benie Des Dieux (R Walsh) 9-2

Result - Correct

 

16:50: National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 4m

To win - Rathvinden (Mr P W Mullins) 9-2

Result - Correct

 

17:30: Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 4½f

To win - Rather Be (J McGrath) 12-1

Result - 2nd (Very Close) - Winner - Mister Whitaker (B Hughes) 13-2

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tips (Wednesday)

13:30: Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race 2m 5f

To win - Samcro - (G Elliott / J W Kennedy) - 4/5 - Certainty

Result - Correct

 

14:10: RSA Steeple Chase 3m ½f

To win - Monalee - (H de Bromhead / N D Fehily) - 7/2 - Best Bet of the Day

Result - 2nd - Winner - Presenting Percy

 

14:50: Coral Cup (handicap hurdle) 2m 5f

To win/each way - Topofthegame - (P F Nicholls / Sam Twiston-Davies) - 11/1 - Huge Potential 

Result - 2nd by a nose - winner - Bleu Berry

 

15:30: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m

To win - Altior - (N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville) - 6/5 - Certainty

Result - Correct

 

16:10: Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase 3m 6f

To win - Tiger Roll - (G Elliott / K M Donoghue) - 11/2 - Best Value Bet

Result - Correct

 

16:50: Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap 2m 1½f

To win - Veneer Of Charm - (Kennedy, J/ Elliott, G) - 33/1 - Best Looking Horse

Result - Correct

 

17:30: Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m ½f

To win - Relegate - (Walsh, Ms K/ Mullins, W) - 28/1 - Where the Bet King's Money is Going

Result - Correct

Cheltenham Festival Day 3 Tips (Thursday)

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13:30: JLT Novices' Chase 2m 4f

To win - KEMBOY (P Townend) - 11/1

14:10: Pertemps Network Final (handicap hurdle) 3m

To win - LOUIS' VAC POUCH (R Johnson) - 10/1

14:50: Ryanair Steeple Chase 2m 5f

To win - UN DE SCEAUX (R Walsh) - 4/6

15:30: Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle 3m

To win - SAM SPINNER (J Colliver) - 3/1

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16:10: Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (handicap steeple chase) 2m 5f

To win - THE STORYTELLER (D N Russell) - 6/1

16:50: Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle 2m 1f

To win - LAURINA (R Walsh) - 4/7

17:30: Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 2f

To win - MISSED APPROACH (N McParlan) - 10/1

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Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup Day Tips (Friday)

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13:30: JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

Apple's Shakira @ 6/4 (B J Geraghty/ Henderson, N)

 

14:10: Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

Whiskey Sour @ 14/1 (D J Mullins/ Mullins, W)

 

14:50: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 3m

Chris's Dream @ 7/1 (M P Walsh/ Bromhead, H De)

 

15:30: Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase 3m 2½f

Native River @ 9/2 (R Johnson/ Tizzard, C)

 

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16:10: St. James's Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 3m 2½f

Burning Ambition @ 7/2 (Mr J J Codd/ Power, P)

 

16:50: Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle 2m 4½f

Diese Des Bieffes @ 8/1 (James Bowen/ Henderson, N)

 

17:30: Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase 2m 1½f

Don't Touch It @ 9/1 (M P Walsh/ Harrington, Mrs J)

 

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Everything you need to know about the Cheltenham Festival 2018

The Cheltenham Festival 2018 is fast approaching and begins on 13th March with the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle. Here is everything you need to know about the big four days at Prestbury Park in this amazing day giving us excuse to bet on sports

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When is the Cheltenham Festival?

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place between Tuesday, March 13 and Friday, March 16.

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?

The meeting takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park, on the outskirts of the Gloucestershire spa town of Cheltenham.

How do I buy tickets?

The easiest way is usually to buy tickets through the racecourse’s website. On-the-day sales are sometimes an option, but are not recommended and the final day of the meeting, headlined by the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, historically sells out.

How do I follow it on TV and online?

Coverage of the Cheltenham Festival will be on ITV, which will show the first five races on each of the four days. Full televised coverage of all 28 races can be found on the Racing UK subscription channel.

What are the big races?

The four main championship races headline each of the four days. Tuesday, known as Champion Day, includes the Champion Hurdle. Wednesday, Ladies’ Day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Thursday is known as St Patrick’s Thursday, whichever date it happens to fall on, and hosts the Stayers’ Hurdle (as well as the de facto fifth championship event, the Ryanair Chase). Gold Cup day features the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious prize in jumps racing.

What about the other races?

Just about every division in National Hunt racing is covered in the Cheltenham Festival, which earns it the moniker of jump racing’s Olympics. Some races are subject to long-term sponsorship deals and are better known by those names. The full schedule is as follows:

Tuesday

1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
2.10 Arkle Challenge Trophy
2.50 Festival Trophy Handicap Chase
3.30 Champion Hurdle
4.10 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
4.50 National Hunt Challenge Cup
5.30 Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase

Wednesday

1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
2.10 RSA Chase
2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase
4.10 Cross Country Chase
4.50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Champion Bumper

Thursday

1.30 JLT Novices’ Chase
2.10 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
2.50 Ryanair Chase
3.30 Stayers’ Hurdle
4.10 Festival Plate Handicap Chase
4.50 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Friday

1.30 Triumph Hurdle
2.10 County Hurdle
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup
4.10 Foxhunters’ Chase
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Who are the star names?

At the time of writing, two of last year’s champions are on course to mount a strong defence of their title. Buveur D’Air is a warm order for a second Champion Hurdle, while Sizing John has good claims of following up in what looks an open Gold Cup.

Special Tiara, last year’s Champion Chase winner, is also a likely runner but has looked a fading force this season. He also has to contend with jump racing’s rising star Altior, who won the Racing Post Arkle last year and remains unbeaten over both hurdles and fences.

One of the star human names is Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, who along with stable jockey Ruby Walsh has plundered plenty of prizes at the meeting in recent seasons, especially on day one. British champion trainer Nicky Henderson is set for a big week with both Altior and Buveur D’Air in his care, while Gordon Elliott, last year’s leading trainer at the meeting, saddles big novice hurdle hope and Irish banker Samcro in the Ballymore.

About Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham is at the heart of almost every aspect of Jump racing. This is the place where owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and breeders dream of having winners. It’s the place where the most important races are run. This is where many stars of the future go through the sale ring. But most of all, this is the place where the equine and human champions forge their reputations.

As always, there is much to look forward to in the season, with 16 exciting days of top class Jump racing. Hundreds of thousands of racing fans come to Cheltenham every year, but you don’t need to be an expert to make lasting memories.The wide variety of experiences range from the relaxed feel of the meetings in October and April, to the heady excitement of The November Meeting and the family fun of New Year’s Day.

However, the focus of any jumping season is always The Cheltenham Festival which is the shining jewel in jump-racing’s crown. It is four days of magic, magnificence and madness, played out on a stage framed by the breathtaking vista of the Cotswold Hills. It features a cast of the best horses, jockeys and trainers playing to an audience of 260,000 people, all of whom are determined to have the time of their lives.

£45 million redevelopment of the Home of Jump racing

Cheltenham Racecourse opened its new, five and a half storey grandstand, The Princess Royal Stand, on the first day of The Open, Friday 13th November 2015, on time and on budget. The grandstand is the final part of a £45million redevelopment of the course.

Over a 19month period, from 2013-2015, a number of different areas of Cheltenham Racecourse were redeveloped, with the new stand the centrepiece of the project. The grandstand provides a number of bars, toilets, restaurants, private boxes and viewing facilities for racegoers.

The ground floor of The Princess Royal Stand consists of a public bar, called the Vestey Bar after Lord Vestey who was Chairman of Cheltenham for 21 years until 2011. A bistro also provides hot food and a seafood offering.

The first floor of the stand provides a great new bar for Annual Members who have access directly onto their own section of steppings looking on to the racecourse. The remainder of the first floor is the Big Buck’s Champagne Bar, named after the horse that won an unprecedented four World Hurdles and 18 consecutive races, also with direct access onto the viewing steps of the grandstand.

The second floor of the grandstand consists of an Owners & Trainers Bar, with a balcony overlooking the Parade Ring, horsewalk and course and The Cotswolds Club, an area available to those who used to have one of the A+R boxes which were removed to make way for the new stand.

Moving up a floor, the third floor, to The Royal Box and 11 private boxes. Finally the top floor houses The Cheltenham Club, where members are allocated a table for the season, from which to enjoy a four course, a la carte lunch, stunning views of Cleeve Hill and the Malvern Hills at the back of the stand and even a fireplace to keep warm between races during the winter months. This facility provides an unrivaled offer of fine dining combined with a stunning sporting setting.

The opening of the new stand signified the end of a £45million redevelopment of Cheltenham Racecourse, the largest of its kind by The Jockey Club. A total of 14 different projects have been completed over the 19 month construction period, including a refurbished weighing room, a new first aid room and the new crescent walkway which greatly assists racegoers’ mobility behind the grandstand and offer additional viewing of the parade ring.

Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, commented at the time: “The Jockey Club exists to support the long-term future of British racing and we see this £45m development as an important investment in Cheltenham and Jump Racing as a whole, on the back of putting more than £400m back into our sport in just the last decade.

“We’ve been delighted with the feedback as each project within the development has been completed and opened, but the centerpiece has always been the fantastic new grandstand. We were clear we wanted to offer something for everyone in the facility and a huge credit must go to all of the Cheltenham team as well as our development partners, primarily Kier, and architects Roberts Limbrick for completing a project of this scale not only on budget but ahead of schedule and to a standard fitting of the Home of Jump racing.”

The History of The Cheltenham Festival

The first organised Flat race meeting in Cheltenham took place in 1815 on Nottingham Hill, with the first races on Cleeve Hill in August 1818. Racing’s popularity soared over the next decade with crowds of 30,000 visiting the racecourse for its annual two day July meeting featuring the Gold Cup, a 3m flat race.  Since 1815 we've been betting on horses!  You'd think we'd be good at it by now!

In 1829, Cheltenham’s Parish Priest, Reverend Francis Close, preached the evils of horseracing and aroused such strong feeling amongst his congregation that the race meeting in 1830 was disrupted. Before the following year’s meeting the grandstand was burnt to the ground!

To overcome this violent opposition the racecourse was moved to Prestbury Park, its current venue, in 1831. Steeplechasing became established in nearby Andoversford from 1834 and moved to the present course in 1898.

In 1964, Racecourse Holdings Trust (now Jockey Club Racecourses) was formed to secure the future of Cheltenham. The group now owns 13 other racecourses – a combination of jump, flat, dual purpose and all weather racecourses. Wholly owned in a trust by The Jockey Club, the racecourses reinvest all profits into the 14 racecourses to ensure the continued success and development of British horseracing.

The changing face of Cheltenham Racecourse 1950s

The stands changed little between the 1930s and 1950s when the National Hunt Steeplechase course ran behind the back of the stands.

1960s and 1970s

The original Tattersalls Grandstand was opened in 1960 to cope with growing crowds. The Weighing Room was underneath the Festival Restaurant and the Winners Enclosure above the Parade Ring. During this period the centre of the racecourse was developed and became a popular raceday enclosure.

1980s

The main Grandstand was completed in 1979 and extended twice in the 1980s. The top two levels were dedicated entirely to Private Hospitality, and in 1982 the Parade Ring, Weighing Room and Hurdlers Hall were built behind the stands with terraced viewing for 4,000.

1990s

The new stables complex was opened in 1990 adjacent to Hunters Lodge, our stable staff hotel built three years earlier to sleep 124. The Pre-Parade Ring was used for the first time in 1992 and Hall of Fame Entrance officially opened in 1993.

The Cross Country Course was introduced in 1995 and is now raced on three times each season, including The Festival. The race weaves around the centre of the course with natural obstacles including hedges, banks and ditches. In 1997, the original Tattersalls Grandstand was knocked down and replaced with tiered viewing and the Panoramic Restaurant which boasts spectacular views across the racecourse.

The Millennium

During 2003-2004, £3m was invested in the Best Mate Enclosure in the centre of the racecourse, giving a new grandstand and arguably one of the best views of racing. During the same period, £17m was invested in providing additional raceday facilities with The Centaur, a new conference and events centre. Accommodating up to 4,000 visitors, The Centaur is the biggest venue of its kind between Birmingham and Bournemouth. In 2005, The Festival was successfully extended to four days.

Investing in the future

The racecourse employs more than 80 permanent staff, which rises to approximately 1,000 for a race meeting and more than 5,000 at The Festival. The Festival is worth an estimated £100m to the local economy and hosts the largest tented village of any kind at a sporting event. Prize money at Cheltenham exceeds £6m throughout the season with £4.1m on offer at The Festival alone, making it the most valuable and prestigious fixture in Jump racing.

The racecourse is also home to many other organizations and businesses including Cotswold RDA, Cheltenham Archery and Clubs for Angling and Model Aircraft. Throughout the year we welcome over 700,000 visitors to the racecourse and hope that every visitor – horse or human – enjoy their visit and will be back soon.

About The Jockey Club

Cheltenham racecourse is part of the The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horse racing.
With a 266-year heritage at the heart of British racing and governed by Royal Charter, The Jockey Club invests all profits back into the UK’s second biggest spectator sport.

The Jockey Club owns 14 leading racecourses, including Aintree, home of the Randox Health Grand National; Cheltenham, stage for the prestigious Cheltenham Festival; Epsom Downs, home to the Investec Derby; and Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and July Course, considered Flat racing’s global HQ.

Other parts of its Group include Jockey Club Estates which operates the famous training grounds at Newmarket and Lambourn; The National Stud, its Thoroughbred breeding, boarding and education arm; and charity, Racing Welfare, which offers help to all racing’s people in need.

The Jockey Club is also the largest shareholder in QIPCO British Champions Series, which aims to throw the spotlight on the very best races in the UK Flat season, and climaxes with QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October each year.

It is also the largest shareholder in media company, Racecourse Media Group, which includes satellite TV channel, Racing UK, online service, RacingUK.com and betting shop TV service, TurfTV.

Cheltenham Racecourse Committee:

CHAIRMAN

Robert Waley-Cohen – Robert took over as Chairman from Lord Vestey after The Festival in 2011 when his horse Long Run won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Robert has owned four other Festival winners and five winners over the Grand National fences. Robert has been on the committee of the TBA National Hunt Committee since 2006 and Chairman since 2010. He has been a member of the BHA Jump Race Committee since 2010. Robert served as a Steward of The Jockey Club from 1995 to 2000, the last three years as Deputy Senior Steward and was Chairman of the Point-to-Point Authority from 2005 to 2011.

COMMITTEE

Rupert Sweeting – Rupert was a successful amateur jockey and continues to steward at Aintree, Ascot, Newbury, Towcester, Warwick and Windsor. He is on the Licensing Committee of the BHA. He has three broodmares and a filly in training with David Pipe. He is a proprietary partner of Knight Frank heading up the Country Department and is a director of Heritage Diversified Investments PCC Ltd.

Alice Fox-Pitt – After starting out as a runner on Festival Radio, Alice, née Alice Plunkett, moved on to having her own show there, at the Derby and Royal Ascot. She then did a screen test for the Racing Channel and worked there until the broadcaster closed, then becoming a host on At the Races before moving across to Racing UK on its inception. Her role on Channel 4 Racing began with the Lunchtime Show and she was brought into the main team in 2001. She now fronts all the Jump racing action for Channel 4 and from 2017 ITV Racing. She is the only woman to have ridden around both Aintree and Badminton Horse Trials. She represented Great Britain at the European Three-Day Event Championships under 21 and, as an amateur rider, partnered winners over hurdles, point-to-points and charity Flat races.Plunkett is married to eventer William Fox-Pitt and they live in Dorset with their four children.

William Rucker – William is Chief Executive of Lazard in London. He is also Chairman of Crest Nicholson Holdings plc and Quintain Estates & Development plc. He has many horses in training with Evan Williams and his horses have finished in the top four in six runnings of the Grand National, with familiar names such as Cappa Bleu and State Of Play, the latter of which also won the 2006 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. He also has horses in training with Fergal O’Brien and with Sir Mark Prescott on the Flat.

William Vestey – William has grown up with Cheltenham Racecourse as a big part of his life, as his father Lord Vestey was Chairman for over two decades. He is Lord Vestey’s elder son and is Associate Director for the family business, Vestey Group. William has horses in training with Jeremy Noseda, Nicky Henderson and Charlie Longsdon.

Sir Richard Stagg KCMG – Sir Richard joined the Cheltenham Racecourse Committee at the start of the 2015/16 season. He had recently retired from the Foreign Office, having been High Commissioner to India from 2007 until 2011 and after that was Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2012 until 2015. He is Chairman of Rothschild India. He has owned a number of racehorses in the past and has a varied background in racing from sponsoring pony racing on the ice in Bulgaria; to presenting the Queen’s Cup at Calcutta Races.

Grand National Runners 2018 Guide