Grand National

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Grand National

the. an annual steeplechase run at Aintree, Liverpool, since 1839
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Grand National

First Saturday in April
Grand National is the world-famous steeplechase run at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. It was started in 1839 by William Lynn, owner of the Waterloo Hotel in Liverpool, as a means of attracting hotel patrons. The first races were at Maghull just outside Liverpool, but the course was moved to Aintree in 1864 and remained unchanged until 1961 when a railing was erected to keep spectators off the course. The next change was in 1990 when the slope at the infamously hazardous Becher's Brook jump was modified because so many horses had been killed there.
The course is four and one-half miles long and has 16 bush fences, of which 14 are jumped twice. The fences average 5'3" high. All have ditches either on the take-off or landing side. The race is limited now to 40 starters, and usually there is a full field. Of the starters, rarely do as many as half finish, and sometimes only as few as three or four. Horses have to qualify by winning three other set races in England, although any horse that wins the Maryland Hunt Cup is automatically eligible to run.
Probably the greatest horse to run the Grand National was Red Rum, a big, strong horse that won in 1973, 1974, and 1977. In 1973, Red Rum set a record for the fastest time—9 minutes, 1.90 seconds.
The race became widely known to the general public with the 1944 movie National Velvet, based on the 1935 bestseller by Enid Bagnold. It starred Mickey Rooney, playing an ex-jockey, and Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet Brown, the girl who trains "The Pi" for the Grand National steeplechase. When the jockey scheduled to ride proves unsuitable, Velvet cuts her hair and rides to victory herself, but is disqualified when it's discovered she's a girl. Only men could ride originally, but today women are eligible.
CONTACTS:
Aintree Racecourse
Ormskirk Rd., Aintree
Liverpool, L9 5AS United Kingdom
44-15-1523-2600; fax: 44-15-1522-2920
www.aintree.co.uk
SOURCES:
DictDays-1988, p. 50
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Was to have gone for the Aintree Grand National but ruled out by suspension.
A man was remanded in custody yesterday by Dublin's anti-terrorist Special Criminal Court on a charge connected with an attempt by the Real IRA to bomb the Aintree Grand National race meeting last April.
For a chance to win just phone our hotline with the answer to this question: Name this year's Aintree Grand National winner?
| JOHN MORRIS will again be hosting an Aintree Grand National Festival Preview Evening on Wednesday (April 3) at the Old Railway Club on Melling Road on the eve of the three-day meeting on Merseyside.
This year's Aintree Grand National festival will take place from Thursday, April 4 - Saturday April 6.
Rated 156 over fences and 31lb lower for hurdling, Total Recall is being aimed at the Aintree Grand National and, no matter how easily he wins tomorrow, his chase mark will be safe.
TONY McCOY admits Lucinda Russell's success with One for Arthur in the Aintree Grand National is a shot in the arm for the entire sport.
She rode Seabass to finish Aintree Grand National and has ridden two winners at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Welsh-bred horse underwent pioneering stem-cell treatment after almost severing his tendon - the equine equivalent of slicing clean through an Achilles tendon - in a hurdling race before last year's Aintree Grand National.
It took its name from Captain Becher, who fell there from his horse Conrad in the first Aintree Grand National in 1839.
Overseeing affairs on Saturday will be 2001 Aintree Grand National hero Red Marauder who will be parading in front of the crowds.
But he isn't down in the dumps about his prospects for the Aintree Grand National in the three weeks' time despite Thursday's accident: "I've just got to give it rest."