The Grand National race, part of the Grand National Festival at Aintree Liverpool, is known to be one of the most dangerous and hard horse races in the world. Horses don´t just race around an oval racetrack, this is a jump race were horses rise over fences, bush walls, mud pools and irregular terrain.

All in all horse and jockey must cover 16 jumping obstacles over two laps, many will fall in the process leaving riderless horses or broken legs. Several horses have died during the event and one jockey, and injuries are always expected, although in modern days the wooden fences have been replaced by plastic ones and some dangerous obstacles modified with no deaths since the 70s.

Back in 1830 the Grand National began as a cross country race at the same spot the modern racetrack is now. Back then Mother Nature provided for most of the obstacles with stone walls, wooden fences, on and off the woods into a dirt road and back into the woods, a dangerous 90 degree turn just in front of the Leeds Canal where most horses ended in its waters.

The crowds grew a liking for the event and created new names for the obstacles like “Becher’s Brook”, where the rider Captain Martin Becher took a fall and found refuge from the stomping horses falling down from the jump under a small brook. He later said, “Water tastes disgusting without the benefits of whisky.”

Only the best jump horses of the world attend this event, mostly from the UK, but a few from France and there has been some appearances of American horses. Irish trained and bred horses seem to be the best performing ones so far.

When is the Grand National?

The Grand National race is the main event of the Grand National Festival that begins on the first weekend of April. In 2017 it will take place April 8th. Previous days will be Opening Day on Friday 6th and Ladies Day April 7th.

The race begins at 5:30 pm with horse races starting from 2 pm.

Only 7-year-old horses can enter and they are required to have won several high stake races.

Where? Aintree Racetrack at Liverpool countryside.



Which Horses to Bet On?

It has always been tricky to select the horse to win the Grand National. In all of its history only 30 favorites have won the event and many of them never really finish the race. These are the top candidates to win the Grand National, to place an online bet – Grand National betting at William Hill offers the following odds:

Vieux Lion Rouge 10/1

Blaklion 14/1

Definitly Red 12/1

One of Arthur 14/1

The Last Samuri 14/1

Cause of Causes 14/1

Handicap Tips

This is a stamina horse race that requires a lot of focus, a good mix of jockey + horse + trainer is required.

  • Weight is very important in the trends. Do not back a horse with more than 14lbs and a bottom weight of no more than 11 stone.
  • Select a horse between 10 and 11 years of age.
  • The horse must have Aintree racetrack experience and so does the jockey. There are two very specific obstacles were the ground is uneven were the horse jumps and lands, the jockey needs to settle in accordingly to receive the fall.
  • Make sure the horse has at least one other Grand National win, that he usually finishes in the top 3 and has over 10 chases in his career.
  • Irish and French bred horses perform better.
  • Jockey and trainer must have Grand National records.
  • The horse should be rated 148.

Hiking Trails Near Aintree, Liverpool

While at Aintree why not try these English country side trails:

Trans Pennine Trail – A series of paved walking trails that cross the old railroad tracks stretching for miles though Leeds and York.

Eastham Country Park – 100 acres of woodland and once a Victorian amusement park with vestiges of the old amusement park with plenty of English wild life.

Alderley Edge  –  Great view over the Cheshire Plain with beautiful woodland.