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Grand National

The History of The Grand National

Table of Contents

Did you know that The Grand National is happening on April 13, 2024, and will be held at Aintree Racecourse, Aintree, Merseyside, England? It’s been 185 years since then, and Genting Casino talked about the 10th anniversary of the historic win by Pineau De Re.

What is the Grand National?

First held in 1839, the Grand National is a handicap steeplechase race that covers a distance of 4 miles and 2 and a half furlongs. In 2017, the prize fund for this highly valuable jump race in Europe was £1 million. larger fences than traditional National Hunt tracks, including Becher’s Brook, The Chair, and Canal Turn, make this race “the ultimate test of horse and rider.” Since 1960, the race has been televised live in the UK on free-to-air terrestrial television; BBC Radio retained exclusive rights to broadcast the race until 2013. The event was aired by Channel 4 from 2013 to 2016, and in 2017 ITV was granted UK broadcasting rights. Randox has sponsored the race and festival since 2017.

It was a race held in Aintree, England, and was started by William Lynn in 1829. Sir William won the Grand National in 1837, The Duke in 1838, and The Duke won the first-ever Grand National in 1836. The race was a local event at first, but in 1838 and 1839, three major events turned it into a national event. After 1838, the Great St. Albans Chase was not extended, and in 1839, the railway was connected to a line that ran from Birmingham and London. The formation of a committee to improve event organization resulted in a more widely reported race in 1839. After Jem Mason won the Lottery race in 1839, Henry Hawley Smart used the race as the backdrop for one of his thrillers.

After the Aintree Racecourse was taken over by the War Office during the First World War, an alternate race was held for three years at the now-closed Gatwick Racecourse, which is located on land now occupied by Gatwick Airport. These races were renamed the War National Steeplechase in 1917 and 1918 after being held under the Racecourse Association Steeplechase name for the first time in 1916. The races that take place at Gatwick are not always recognized as “Grand Nationals,” and the results are often omitted from winners’ lists.

The Grand National Horse Race was discontinued from 1941 to 1945 because the Aintree Racecourse was taken over for military purposes. To make it more accessible to working people, it was moved from a Saturday in 1947 when it resumed in 1946. In the 1950s, Vincent O’Brien was the clear winner, taking home the trophy three times in a row between 1953 and 1955. Queen Elizabeth’s horse, Devon Loch, fell flat after clearing the last fence in 1956, handing the victory to E.S.B. The event became associated with a last-minute failure to secure an anticipated victory and was incorporated into British sports culture.

The Grand National met with mixed results in the 1970s; in 1973, the racecourse was sold to real estate developer Bill Davies. As a result, fewer people attended the race, and a management agreement was made with bookmaker Ladbrokes. 

The history of horse racing

With a lengthy history spanning centuries, horse racing is the second-largest spectator sport in Great Britain. With £1.05 billion coming from core racing industry spending, it contributes £3.39 billion in direct and indirect spending to the British economy. The Jockey Club codified the Rules of Racing and Admiral Rous laid the groundwork for the handicapping system, giving the sport its origins in Roman times. Britain has produced some of the best jockeys in history and is home to racetracks like Newmarket, Ascot, and Cheltenham. Through media rights and the Horserace Betting Levy Board, the betting industry supports horse racing.

Although horses were employed as draft animals before the Romans arrived in Britain, it is most likely that Roman soldiers organized the nation’s first horse races circa 200 AD. According to the Venerable Bede, the English started saddling their horses approximately in 631. The first record of “running horses” dates back to a 9th or 10th-century gift from Hugh to King Athelstan of England. In Smithfield, London, during Henry II’s reign, the first race meetings were officially documented. Horse breeding advanced during the Crusades, and horseback riding competitions gained popularity. For the next three centuries, the English monarchs continued to race horses; Edward III purchased horses, and Henry VII expanded the royal stud.

Stallions and mares were imported from Spain, Italy, and the East, and regulations governing horse breeding were passed during the reign of Henry VIII in the sixteenth century. He started the Royal Paddock at Hampton Court, a training facility at Greenwich, and a stud at Eltham. In 1512, race meetings got underway, and the first trophy was awarded. The Kiplingcotes Derby, the oldest horse race, was held for the first time in 1519. By 1540, Chester had developed a racing track, and by Elizabeth’s day, it was a popular pastime.

Interest in horse racing declined during Elizabeth’s reign in the 17th century, but it surged again when James I discovered Newmarket in 1605 and started holding horse races there. From the time of Boudica and the Iceni, horses have always been associated with the area. The racecourse was established in 1636, and the earliest race ever registered was a match for £100 in 1622 between horses owned by Lord Salisbury and the Marquess of Buckingham. More race meetings popped up around the nation, with races for silver bells held at Theobalds on Enfield Chase, Gatherley, and Croydon.

All horse racing was banned in 1654 by Oliver Cromwell, but racing flourished with the restoration of Charles II. He instituted the Newmarket Town Plate in 1664, writing the rules himself. William III founded a riding academy and ran his horses at Newmarket between 1695 and 1702. The three foundation sires of the modern thoroughbred, the Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Barb, were imported to England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The Queen Anne Stakes are still held at Royal Ascot, which was founded in the early 1700s thanks in large part to Queen Anne. John Cheney’s 1727 Historical List of Horse Matches and Plates in England and Wales was the first published account of race results. Later, the Weatherby family came to be the custodians of the most comprehensive collection of racing records. The Jockey Club was established in 1750 to draft and implement the Racing Rules. The first three-year-old races were held in 1731, and the horses competing were usually mature ones. The 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury were major influencers in the expansion of prizes, with Newmarket and York setting the pace.

There was a lot of interest in horse racing in the 18th and 19th centuries, and handicap races gained popularity. Ascot hosted the first race in 1791, and many have continued to this day. William Lynn founded the Grand National at Aintree, and steeplechasing started in the early 1830s. In 1875, Sandown Park established a distinct members’ enclosure. The nation’s love for horse racing had grown by the turn of the 20th century, but worries about its moral implications remained. The turf of today is quickly evolving into the “manor of the worst.”

Types of racing

Horse racing in Great Britain consists of two main forms: flat racing, which runs over 5 furlongs and 2 miles without obstacles, and National Hunt racing, which involves steeplechase and hurdles. Point-to-point racing is an informal, ad hoc form of steeplechasing for amateur riders. All forms are run under the British Horseracing Authority, except for point-to-pointing, which is administered by the Point-to-Point Authority. Limited harness racing and Arabian racing also occur under different organizations.

If you’re looking forward to watching the race that’s happening on April 13, 2024, it will be shown live on ITV1 as well as Racing TV.

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