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The Grand National

 

Since 1839 Aintree outside Liverpool has been hosting the horse racing competition the Grand National. This is a steeplechase competition. To increase safety in recent years, measures have been taken to replace the robust wooden obstacles with flexible plastic ones. The starting line has also been moved further from the stands to make the horses calmer before the race starts. The Grand National is one of the most challenging competitions in the world of horse racing, on average only 60 percent of the 40 competitors reach the end. The track is measured at 4,5 miles - the longest horse racing track in Great Britain - and consists of 30 obstacles. Notorious obstacles include; Becher’s Brook, Valentine’s Brook, The Chair, Foinavon and Canal Turn.

Jim Mason was along with Lottery the first to win the Grand National. However, the most successful horse in the Grand National is Red Rum with winning titles in 1973, 1974 and 1977 along with Brian Fletcher (1973, 1974) and Tommay Sack (1977). To this day Red Rum is the only horse to have won the race three times in the Grand National. Since 2010; Don't Push It, Ballabriggs, Neptune, Auroras Encore, Pineau de Re, Many Clouds and Rule The World have won the prestigious race. To give all jockeys and horses the same conditions the lighter horses compete with weights, which Lottery had to do when the handicap-system was implemented in 1941 - it is widely speculated that Lottery would have more titles in the Grand National if it wasn't for this.

When betting on the Grand National you should consider 1) age, 2) experience, 3) jockey, 4) classification, 5) stamina, 6) trainer and 7) weight. The statistics favour horses between eight and twelve years of age - no horse aged seven or younger has won since Bogskar won in 1940 and no horse aged thirteen or older has won since Sergeant Murphy won in 1923. In addition to this the ten most recent winners have been nine, ten and eleven years of age - experience is definitely an edge in the Grand National. And choose a jockey who hasn't won the Grand National in recent years, only Ruby Walsh has won the race more than once in the last 20 years.

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