Grand National

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Grand National

the. an annual steeplechase run at Aintree, Liverpool, since 1839

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
References in periodicals archive ?
For that reason, your selection for the Grand National needs to be a 'stayer', a horse that has proven stamina reserves over long distances.
24Richard Johnson holds the unwanted record of most rides in the Grand National without winning.
1 Geraldine Rees was the first woman to ride in the Grand National.
The new Grand National and T-Type will be the same vehicles, with the Grand National being available only in black, while the T-Type will be offered in various exterior colours.
He leaves a legacy and every time you think of the Grand National, you think of Ginger.
I FELT ashamed for placing a bet on the Grand National. It's the only race event I have put money on but never again.
The Grand National Assembly is an equivalent of the Bulgarian National Assembly, or Parliament, which is elected when the nation has to deal with issues of paramount importance such as adopting a new constitution, approving territorial changes, choosing a new head of state (a monarch in the past), changing the form of government, rescinding constitutional provisions or international agreements, or acquiring emergency powers.
There is nothing quite like the heart-clutching sensation as the massive field for the Grand National is persuaded into line, ready for the charge to the first fence.
Grand National references can only be matched against the result of the Grand National race on April 7, 2001 and no other.
"Much has been made about the Grand National being made safer, yet we are again talking about the tragic death of a horse during the race," said Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports.