For many young people in the UK the Grand National represents their first-ever gambling experience. Who does not have a memory of their father asking them to pick out a horse from the newspaper before vanishing behind those darkened doors to place your 10p each way bet.
That’s just one of the reasons that The Aintree Grand National is known as the greatest steeplechase in the world and one of the biggest betting events for bookies.
At nearly two and a quarter miles in length, with 16 fences separating the start to the finish, it is one of the most endurance sapping, steam snorting courses in the world. With one exception, all of the jumps have a deeper landing than take off, and that exception is The Chair Fence, which actually has a higher landing side than take off. The Chair is also one of two fences that are only jumped once throughout the two laps of the race - the other being the water jump.
The most successful horse to attempt the Grand National terrain was Red Rum. The thoroughbred racehorse made history when it completed an astounding treble success with victories in 1973, 1974 & 1977. His 1973 victory has gone down in folklore as one of the most mesmerising performances to date, when it came from 30 lengths down to storm to victory in what many believe to be the greatest Grand National in the history of the sport.
In 2013, bookmakers takings topped the £150m mark for the first time in its history as the 70,000 capacity crowd watched the 166th race accompanied by over 600 million viewers sitting at home in front of their TV screens.