Grand National
Join in

Send page to a friend

4478 views since 14th December 2011

Related links:

Food Legends | Pubs | Cultural Britain | History

Featured Destination

March 2020: West Norfolk

Welcome to West Norfolk, a truly special place of unspoilt charm and natural beauty, where tranquillity and relaxation are the order of the day.

Set against ...More
More Uk destinations

The Derby is for racing purists; the 2000 and 1000 Guineas for the owners; Cheltenham’s Gold Cup for the Irish; but The Grand National is the race for the British people – and at the last estimate, about half a billion more around the globe.
It is a race that is easily understood by those who never watch another horse race all year, starting like a cavalry charge and proceeding like a hunt over the distance of just under 4.5 miles. The height and number of the fences brings in the element of danger, making finishing at times something of a lottery, as Foinavon’s famous 100-1 victory in 1967 showed. Sadly horses die in the race, which is not easy to justify – and one jockey died of his injuries back in 1862.
But it is undoubtedly a national institution, run since 1839 (or arguably 1836): grannies, vicars and freelance writers who don’t place a bet on anything else all year peruse the papers for guides to form; listen to experts spouting nonsense; or choose a horse because they like the colour of its jockey’s silks; or something in a name stirs them – when Party Politics won in 1992 with an election campaign in full swing the bookies took a pasting. Shame. The National has produced heroes human and equine: three-time winner Red Rum became a four-legged celebrity, albeit with more charm than most two-legged versions; Bob Champion’s 1981 success after beating cancer touched the country; and the Duke of Albuquerque’s repeated fruitless efforts made him a legend. Villains too – the 1993 start fiasco made some names mud.
Every April on one Saturday afternoon we gather round TV sets, or even make our way to Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse , clutching our office sweepstakes tickets or betting slips – one day my forecast bet will make me rich. But meanwhile there is always next year’s event.

More British Institutions

Brit Quote:
An original idea. That can't be too hard. The library must be full of them. - Stephen Fry
More Quotes

On this day:
Battle of Fulford - 1066, Executions of Babington Plotters Begin - 1586, Battle of Newbury - 1st - 1643, QE2 Launched - 1967
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages