Facts & Figures
- The first race was held in 1839, but it started in inauspicious circumstances, going off two hours late after confusion over weighing procedures. The aptly named, and 5-1 favourite, Lottery came home first.
- The 1929 National featured the most starters in the race when 66 horses lined up.
- The smallest field was in 1883 when just 10 faced the starter.
- The fastest ever time is the 8 minutes 47.8 seconds Mr Frisk recorded in taking victory in 1990.
- The smallest number of finishers was in 1928 when Tipperary Tim, a 100-1 outsider, was the first of two past the post.
- The greatest number of horses to finish was 23 in 1984. Hallo Dandy, ridden by Neale Doughty, was the winner.
- 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 first five Grand National's included one jump that was a stone wall. It was situated where the water jump now stands.
- 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 2ins, and the broadest. The fence got its name as it was once alongside the seat used by the distance judge.
- The 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.
- 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.
- The distance of the 2013 National will be reduced to four miles and three-and-a-half furlongs, from the traditional four-and-a-half miles, as the start has been moved 90 yards closer to the first fence for safety reasons.
- Red Rum is the most successful horse, having won the Grand National three times: 1973, 1974 and 1977.
- The oldest winning horse is Peter Simple, aged 15 (1853); the youngest winning horses were Alcibiade (1865), Regal (1876), Austerlitz (1877), Empress (1880), Lutteur III (1909), all aged 5.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Manifesto has run in more races than any other horse. Between 1895 and 1904, he ran in eight races, winning two and coming third on three occasions. He only failed to finish once.
- Two Russian horses, Reljef and Grifel, competed in the 1961 Grand National, but neither finished. Horses from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Norway have also run in previous Grand Nationals, although all with similarly disappointing results.
- Four winners were bred in France — Alcibiade (1865), Reugny (1874), Lutteur III (1909), and Mon Mome (2009). Mely Moss, who was runner-up to Papillon in the 2000 Grand National and the 1996 runner-up Encore Un Peu, were also French breds.
- In 1998, Earth Summit, owned by a six-strong partnership, became the first winner of the Grand National who was also successful in both the Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals.
- Only three greys have won the Grand National - The Lamb (1868 and 1871), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and and Neptune Collonge (2012). Suny Bay finished second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 and filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998. King Johns Castle was second in 2008.
- 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.
- The complete list of winning mares is: Charity (1841), Miss Mowbray (1852), Anatis (1860), Jealousy (1861), Emblem (1863), Emblematic (1864), Casse Tete (1872), Empress (1880), Zoedone (1883), Frigate (1889), Shannon Lass (1902), Sheila's Cottage (1948) and Nickel Coin (1951).
- In 1923, Sergeant Murphy became the first US bred horse to win the race. He is also the joint-second oldest horse to win, at age 13, alongside Why Not (1884). The US bred Battleship, son of the famous Man o' War, became the first (and so far only) horse to have won both the Grand National (in 1938) and the American Grand National (which he won four years earlier).
- 1991 was the seventh and final year that the Grand National was sponsored by Seagram. Aptly, the race was won by a horse named Seagram, bred in New Zealand. 1997 saw another New Zealand-bred winner in Lord Gyllene.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bruce Hobbs is the youngest jockey to have ever won the race. The 17-year-old triumphed aboard Battleship in 1938.
- The late Dick Saunders is the oldest ever winner of the Grand National, partnering Grittar to victory in 1982. Saunders was 48 at the time.
- 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.
- Ruby Walsh holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, on Papillon in 2000 and Hedgehunter in 2005.
- Jockey William Watkinson recorded the first riding success for Australia in 1926. He was killed at Bogside, Scotland, less than three weeks after winning the Grand National.
- In 2012, Richard Johnson beat the record for the most rides in the National without a win. He has now ridden in the race 16 times without bettering a runners up spot in 2002 on What’s Up Boys. There are nine other riders who have never won (or have not as yet won) the National, despite having had more than 12 rides in the race. They are:
Jeff King (1964–1980): finished third once in 15 attempts;
Robert Thornton (1997–to date): never in first three in 14 attempts;
Bill Parvin (1926–1939): finished second once in 14 attempts;
Graham Bradley (1983–1999): finished second once in 14 attempts;
Chris Grant (1980–1994): finished second three times in 13 attempts;
Stan Mellor (1956–1971): finished second once in 13 attempts;
David Nicholson (1957–1973): never in first three in 13 attempts;
George Waddington (1861–1882): finished second once in 13 attempts;
Walter White (1854–1869): finished second once in 13 attempts.
- Since Charlotte Brew became the first in 1977, female jockeys have participated in 18 Grand National's.
- Geraldine Rees became the first to complete the course in 1982.
- In 2012 Katie Walsh (sister of two-time winner Ruby Walsh) achieved the best placing by a woman to date - 3rd place on Seabass.
- National winning trainer, Venetia Williams, also rode in the race, falling at Becher’s first time in 1988.
- Here is the complete record of lady jockeys to date:
|Year||Jockey||Horse||SP||Result||1977||Charlotte Brew||Barony Fort||200/1||Refused, 26th fence||1979||Jenny Hembrow||Sandwilan||100/1||Fell, 1st fence||1980||Jenny Hembrow||Sandwilan||100/1||Pulled up, 19th fence||1981||Linda Sheedy||Deiopea||100/1||Refused, 19th fence||1982||Geraldine Rees||Cheers||66/1||Completed, 8th & last place||1982||Charlotte Brew||Martinstown||100/1||Unseated, 3rd fence||1983||Geraldine Rees||Midday Welcome||500/1||Fell, 1st fence||1983||Joy Carrier||King Spruce||28/1||Unseated, 6th fence||1984||Valerie Alder||Bush Guide||33/1||Fell, 8th fence||1987||Jacqui Oliver||Eamons Owen||200/1||Unseated, 15th fence||1988||Gee Armytage||Gee-A||33/1||Pulled up, 26th fence||1988||Venetia Williams||Marcolo||200/1||Fell, 6th fence||1988||Penny Ffitch-Heyes||Hettinger||200/1||Fell, 1st fence||1989||Tarnya Davis||Numerate||100/1||Pulled up, 21st fence||1994||Rosemary Henderson||Fiddlers Pike||100/1||Completed, 5th place||2005||Carrie Ford||Forest Gunner||8/1||Completed, 5th place||2006||Nina Carberry||Forest Gunner||33/1||Completed, 9th & last place||2010||Nina Carberry||Character Building||16/1||Completed, 7th place||2011||Nina Carberry||Character Building||25/1||Completed, 15th place||2012||Nina Carberry||Organisedconfusion||20/1||Unseated, 8th fence||2012||Katie Walsh||Seabass||8/1||Completed, 3rd place|
- 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).
- 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.
- Jenny Pitman and Venetia Williams are the only women to have trained a Grand National winner. Pitman captured 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. Venetia Williams was successful with Mon Mome in 2009.
- Fred Rimell and George Dockeray are is the most successful Grand National trainers having each guided four different horses to victory. Rimell trained ESB (1956), Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970) and Rag Trade (1976), whilst Dockeray trained Lottery (1839), Jerry (1840), Gaylad (1842) and Miss Mowbray (1852). Ginger McCain also had four winners, but with just two horses, Red Rum (1973, 74 and 77) and Amberleigh House (2004). His son, Donald, joined the roll of honour by training 2011 winner, Ballabriggs.
- Two French-trained horses have won the Grand National, Huntsman (1862) and Cortolvin (1867). , Both were trained by Yorkshireman Harry Lamplugh, who also rode Huntsman to victory.
- The only Welsh-trained horse to win was Kirkland in 1905.
- Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter in Roxburghshire, became the first Scottish-trained winner, with victory in 1979.
- Irish-trained horses have enjoyed by far the most success of international participants, with 16 winners since 1900, including six since 1999. Also, a number of Irish-bred horses (including Red Rum and Golden Miller) have won the race under English trainers.
- 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).
- In 1950 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother had her first runner in the race in Monaveen, who finished fifth. Six years later she would witness her Devon Loch collapse on the run-in, just yards from a certain victory.
- The favourite for the 1968 race, Different Class, was owned by actor Gregory Peck.
- A 12/1 shot, What A Friend, running in 2011, was part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. He was pulled up by jockey Daryl Jacob before the 27th fence.
- Also in 2011, owner of Blackpool Tower, Trevor Hemmings, enjoyed his second win in the race (Hedgehunter in 2005 and Ballabriggs in 2011).
- The leading owners are James Machell - Disturbance (1873), Reugny (1874) and Regal (1876) and Noel Le Mare - Red Rum (1973, 1974 and 1977) with three wins each.