Grand National Horse Race
The Grand National is one of the most important horse races in England and the entire world, with upwards of 500 million people watching it every year. An incredible handicap chase horse race over a distance of 4 miles 4 furlongs, the Grand National horse race is popular not just with regular punters, but also with people who have no other interest in horse racing. The race is run at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool each year as part of a three-day meeting starting this year on 2 April and the 2009 Grand National will be run at 4:15PM on 4 April.
The handicap and chase aspects of the Grand National make it especially interesting compared to many other major races. For those who are unfamiliar with handicap and chase horse racing events, a handicap means that the better horses are given extra weight to carry in order to give the lesser horses a better chance.
A chase is more than just a race to the finish line – horses must also jump over a number of obstacles. This adds a level of difficulty to the race that tests both horse and jockey. The Grand National is known as being particularly difficult, with 30 jumps to negotiate, some of them notorious for the challenge they present. There are 16 fences in the Grand National and other than The Chair, which is much feared, and the Water-Jump, each of the fences is jumped twice in order to make up the total 30 obstacle jumps. As horses will often fall over if they do not jump correctly, it is unlikely that all horses will finish the race, with only 2 horses finishing in 1928 from an initial 42 runners!
It looks like the 2009 Grand National will be just as competitive as ever, with many previous Grand National runners set to run. The favorite is Cloudy Lane, which sports a Kim Muir Cheltenham Festival 2007 win and Donald McCain Jnr, son of the legendary Ginger McCain, as its trainer. A few unsure races and an unseated rider in the 2007 Irish National have made some punters unsure of Cloudy Lane’s credentials, however.
On the other hand, many of the other strong contenders have what may be described as uncertain temperaments. Comply Or Die won last year’s Grand National, yet has also turned in poor performances in the Welsh and Scottish Grand Nationals. Cloudy Lane has a victory over Comply Or Die in the Haydock Tommy Whittle handicap chase as well, so it is hard to tell which of these two runners is the superior horse.
One cannot help but wonder whether the odds on Comply Or Die are being colored slightly by the legend of Red Rum, though. While Comply Or Die is certainly getting some of the best odds to win, no horse has managed to retain the Grand National crown since Red Rum, the most successful horse to race in the Grand National, with three wins. At the same time, the field is certainly strong, and the 2009 Grand National is looking to be one of the most exciting in years.
It’s not much longer until this year’s Grand National, so those who are interested in attending the race itself will need to act fast in order to ensure attendance. The Aintree Racecourse has recently seen major improvements to improve its crowd capacity, but local accommodation is harder to organize as the Grand National draws closer.