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The Grand National Horse Race

The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 3½ furlongs, with horses jumping 30 fences over two circuits. The Grand National was first run in 1839.

Steeplechase horse racing event
Steeplechase horse racing event

The Grand National is a handicap horse race, the horses carry diverse weights allocated by the handicapper. The horses are required to jump varied fences and ditch obstacles over 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs (7,141 m) with horses jumping 30 fences over two circuits. It is the most important jump race in Europe and the price is £1 million in 2014.

The Aintree’s National Course is extremely difficult. It has larger fences than those seen on conventional National Hunt tracks. The complexity of the Grand National fences and the quantity of runners (around 40 horses) is what make the race unique. Horses and riders compete against different types of fences and lots of other horses trying to jump them at the same moment.

The Canal Turn (90 degree turn after the jump), Becher’s Brook and The Chair are some of the fences that became famous in their own right, combined with the distance of the event, creating the “ultimate test of horse and rider”. There are 17 fences in total.

The horse race has been broadcasting live on free-to-air terrestrial television in England since 1960 through BBC. Over 500-600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries.

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