Grand National Trivia
We've put some interesting facts and trivia together surrounding the Grand National below.
Grand National Horses
- Red Rum is the most successful horse, having won the Grand National three times: 1973, 1974 and 1977.
- Abd-El-Kader was the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals, in 1850 and 1851. The Colonel, (1869 & 1870), Reynoldstown (1935 & 1936) and Red Rum (1973 & 1974) have also retained the crown.
- Only two greys have won the Grand National - The Lamb (1868 and 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961). Suny Bay finished second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 and filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998.
- Moiffa won in 1904 - having disappeared a year earlier. On a trip to Liverpool from New Zealand, Moiffa's ship was shipwrecked. The horse was presumed lost at sea before turning up on an outcrop south of Ireland.
- Manifesto has run in more races than any other horse. Between 1895 and 1904, Manifesto ran in eight races, winning two and coming third on three occasions. He only failed to finish once.
- The legendary Golden Miller won in 1934 and became the only horse to complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Grand National double in the same season.
- Huntsman (1862) and Cortolvin (1867) have been the only two winners actually trained in France, by Yorkshireman Harry Lamplugh, who also rode Huntsman to victory.
- Two Russian horses, Reljef and Grifel, competed in the 1961 Grand National, but neither finished. Horses from Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Norway have also run in previous Grand Nationals, although all with similarly disappointing results.
- Mely Moss, who was runner-up to Papillon in the 2000 Martell Grand National and the 1996 runner-up Encore Un Peu, came close to becoming the first French-bred winners since Lutteur III in 1909. The two other French-bred winners were Alcibiade (1865) and Reugny (1874).
- In 1998, Earth Summit, owned by a six-strong partnership, became the first winner of the Martell Cognac Grand National who was also successful in both the Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals.
- Thirteen mares have won the Grand National, but the most recent was Nickel Coin back in 1951. Since then, the mares Gentle Moya (2nd 1956), Tiberetta (3rd 1957 and 2nd 1958), Miss Hunter (3rd 1970), Eyecatcher (3rd 1976 and 1977), Auntie Dot (3rd 1991), Ebony Jane (4th 1994) and Dubacilla (4th 1995) have all finished in the first four.
Grand National Records
- The first race was held in 1839, but it started in inauspicious circumstances, two hours late after confusion over weighing procedures. The aptly named, and 5-1 favourite, Lottery came home first.
- The 1997 Grand National, which was won by Lord Gyllene, was the 150th running of the race at Aintree and Sir Peter O'Sullevan's 50th and final commentary for the BBC.
- The 1929 National featured the most starters in the race when 66 horses lined up.
- The greatest number of horses to finish was 23 in 1984. Hallo Dandy, ridden by Neale Doughty, was the winner.
- The fastest ever time is the 8 minutes 47.8 seconds Mr Frisk recorded in taking victory in 1990.
- The smallest field was in 1883 when just 10 faced the starter.
- The smallest number of finishers was in 1928 when Tipperary Tim, a 100-1 outsider, was the first of two past the post.
Grand National Course
- The Grand National fences at Aintree are made up of spruce from the Lake District. The cost of the building work is tens of thousands of pounds and takes a month to complete.
- The first five Grand Nationals included one jump that was a stone wall. It was situated where the water jump now stands.
- As well as horse racing, Aintree has also hosted a European and five British Grand Prix. Stirling Moss won his first Grand Prix in Liverpool in 1955.
- Becher's Brook earned its name when a top jockey, Captain Martin Becher, took shelter in the brook after being unseated. "Water tastes disgusting without the benefits of whisky" he reflected.
- The Chair is the tallest fence at 5ft 3ins, and the broadest. The fence got its name as it was once alongside the seat used by the distance judge.
Grand National Jockeys
- Carl Llewellyn holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, on Party Politics in 1992 and Earth Summit in 1998.
- Tom Olliver is the most experienced jockey in the history of the National - despite spending time behind bars in a debtor's prison. He took part in a record 18 races - winning three.
- Bruce Hobbs is the youngest jockey to have ever won the race. The 17-year-old triumphed aboard Battleship in 1938.
- Brian Fletcher (1968 Red Alligator, 1973 and 1974 Red Rum) shares a 20th Century record with the legendary Jack Anthony (1911 Glenside, 1915 Ally Sloper, 1920 Troytown), both jockeys having ridden three National winners.
- The late Dick Saunders is the oldest ever winner of the National, partnering Grittar to victory in 1982. Saunders was 48 at the time.
- Geraldine Rees was the first of two female jockeys to complete the course, in 1982. Rosemary Henderson was the second in 1994. Can Nina Carberry become the third?
- George Stevens is the most successful jockey in the history of the National with five wins. His final triumph came in 1870 on The Colonel. Stevens died three months after finishing sixth in the 1871 race.
- In the 19th Century, George Stevens partnered no fewer than five National winners.
Grand National Trainers
- Fred Rimell is the most successful National trainer having guided four different horses to victory - E.S.B. (1956), Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970) and Rag Trade (1976). Ginger McCain has also now had four winners, but with just two horses, Red Rum (1973, 74 and 77) and Amberleigh House (2004).
- Vincent O'Brien trained three successive winners - all different horses - in the 1950s. The roll of honour read Early Mist (1953), Royal Tan (1954) and Quare Times (1955).
- Jenny Pitman is the only woman to have trained a Grand National winner, capturing the race for the first time with Corbiere in 1983. She succeeded for a second time with Royal Athlete in 1995 and finished second with Garrison Savannah in 1991. Superior Finish took third spot for the trainer in 1996. The last of her 39 runners, Nahthen Lad in 1999, came 11th.
- The last permit-holder to train the Grand National winner was the late Frank Gilman, the Leicestershire-based farmer, who was responsible for Grittar in 1982.
Grand National Owners
- The Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, owned the 1900 Grand National winner, Ambush II.
- A number of other famous names have owned the National winner including Freddie Starr (Miinnehoma, 1994), Anne, the Duchess of Westminster, (Last Suspect, 1985), Teasie Weasie Raymond, the celebrated hairdresser (Rag Trade 1976) and Fred Pontin (Specify, 1971).