Every April, come rain or shine, horse racing fans savour the greatest steeplechase in the world. Aintree, Liverpool, is the venue for the Grand National which is fondly known as the housewife's favourite – meaning that people often bet on this horse race when they would never before.
The Grand National is run over 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs, with 30 fences. It dates back to 1839 when a horse called Lottery hit the jackpot.
This race has a rich history and stories which have become fables. For that season, I though would be fun to have an a – z about the Grand National characters, horses and anything to do with this most famous of races.
A – Auroras Encore: Winner of the 2013 Grand National for trainer Sue Smith.
B – Bindaree: Nigel Twiston-Davies wins the Grand National in 2002 for owner Jim Mould.
C – Chair: One of the most infamous jumps of the this historic race. Interesting is it the 15th fence and only one of two fences jumped once (the other is the water jump).
D – Don't Push It: A superb victory for Jonjo O'Niell's charge in the ownership of J P McManus. Just as well known for being Tony mcCoy's first Grand National winner at his fifteenth attempt.
E – Earth Summit: This 7/1 favourite won the 1998 race, the first win for Nigel Twiston-Davies and the Summit Partnership.
F – Foinavon: One of the most famous victors of this race in 1967. The win was remarkable for his 100/1 odds after the rest of field fell, refuse or brought down at the 23rd fence.
G – Gay Trip: The 1970 Grand National winner trained by Fred Rimell. It was an exceptional victory considering he was carrying 11 5lb. (Only a handful of horses have carried more weight including Red Rum).
H – Hedgehunter: Trained by Irish legend Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh. He took the spoils in 2005 for millionair owner Trevor Hemmings who owns Blackpool Tower.
I – Ilex: Going back to the 1890 to find the 4/1 winner trained by John Nightgall ridden by his son Arthur.
J – Jim Joel: One of the oldest owners, Joel was 92 when Maori Venture won the 1987 National.
K – Kirkland: Going back to 1905, the first success for jockey Frank Mason who was British jump jockey champion from 1901 – 1907.
L – Little Polvier: Trained by Toby Balding, one of few trainers to win three big races: the Grand National (Little Polvier, 1989), Cheltenham Gold Cup (Cool Ground, 1992) & Champion Hur&le (Beach Road, 1989, Morley Street, 1991).
M – Many Clouds: The sole Grand National winner for Oliver Sherwood in 2015. The third win for Trevor Hemmings.
N – Nicolaus Silver: Just one of three horses to win the Grand National. Tasted victory in 1961 for trainer Fred Rimell. The other two greys to have won the National are The Lamb (1868, 1871) & Neptunes Collo&ges (2012).
O – Oxo: This 8-year-old bay gelding won the Grand National in 1959 for trainer Willie Stephenson.
P – Party Politics: A giant horse who won in 1992 for trainer Nick Gasalee, owned by Patrica Thompson. He also finished runner-up to Royal Athlete in 1995.
Q – Queen Mother: In many people's eyes the most unlucky loser in Grand National history when Devon Loch inexplicably lept into the air and fell in the closing stages of the 1956 contest when certain to win. Ridden by Dick Francis who went on to become a famous crime writer.
R – Red Rum: The most famous winner of the Grand National on three occasions in 1973, 1974 & 1977. Trained by&Ginger McCain, this amazing horse never fell in 100 races. Interesting to note as a two-year-old he dead-heated in a five-furlong sprint. Also, twice ridden by Lester Piggott. Red Rum passed away at the age of 30 and buried at the finishing line at Aintree racecourse.
S - Sergeant Murphy: Won the Grand National in 1923 when ridden by Captain Tuppy Bennett and owned by American Stephen Sanford who was a member of the United States House of Representatives.
T – Tiger Roll: A modern phenomenon and class horse winning the Grand National in 2018 in the ownership of Gigginshouse Stud. A four-times winner at the Cheltenham Festival including the Triumph Hurdle, National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup & Cross Country Chase &2). A leading hope for the 2019 Grand National and hopes of being the next Red Rum.
U – USA: An American-trained horse Jay Trump who prevailed in 1965. One of only two horses to win the Maryland Hunt Cup & Grand National. Shipp&d to England in 1964, then ventured to France when finishing third in the Grand Steeplechase. He returned to America, winning the Maryland Hunt Cup in 1966 and retired.
V – Valentine's: Fence 9th and 25th, originally known as the Second Brook, but named Valentine's when a horse of the same name was reputed to have jumped the fence hind legs first in 1840.
W – Wild Man From Borneo: Won the Grand National in 1895.
X – X-Ray: Aintree racecourse has an on course x-ray machine in the quick diagnosis of horses with leg injuries or pulled up.
Y – Yankee:
A bet that some may include the Grand National as a winning selection. The bet consists of four horses selections and eleven bets: six doubles, four trebles & one four horse accumulator.
Z – Zoedone: Races in the 1882 Grand National in horrendous conditions in the race's history. Heavy snow and freezing conditions saw just 12 starters including Zoedone who finished 3rd. However, the big story of this race was Seaman, who was said to be unfit and only turned by because of an extraordinary wager. The owner the 3rd Barron Manners, than he could buy, train and ride a Grand National winner (1882) with only four months to prepare. Most horses stopped because of the condition, Seaman, looked to sure to finish second as he went lame in the last 300 metres. However, under a determined ride from Manners got up to win by a head.
Jason Coote is the founder of many horse racing websites and known British gambler.