The Grand National Festival is a horse racing event that is held in Liverpool every year. The actual full name is the Randox Grand National, and it is held at the Aintree racecourse. In 2018, it will be held between April 12th and 14th. This is the most prominent horse racing event in British culture, with the winner taking home 1 million pounds in 2017.
The premise of the race is that it is a handicap steeplechase race that covers a little over 4 miles. The horses are led through a course that has 30 fences, over two laps. Here are some of the things you need to know about the Grand National Festival before you head over:
It is a horse race after all. This is the grandest stage for horse riding, as the horses are put through a gruelling course that tests both the jockey and the horse. It has however been a stage for some legendary horses and jockeys over time. Ginger McCain and his record holding three time winner Red Rum immediately come to mind. Other notable icons to come through the racing event include Manifesto, who still holds the record for the most runs in the Grand National, with 8 races and two victories.
Apart from the sizeable prize money, there is a lot to be made during this annual showcase. Bets are made on all kind of odds on the events leading up to this, and on the horses during the event. There are also prizes to be won in promotional shows on radio and TV, and during the event. You can place your bets online, and a good place to start is http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/events/aintree-racecourse
For the sake of conversation during this equestrian festival, there are a few people you should have at your fingertips. These are some of the well respected names in the Aintree Racecourse circles. One of these is Jenny Pitman who was the first woman to train a winning horse. She achieved this in 1967. Other greats include George Stevens, who currently holds the record for the most wins, 5 times between 1856 and 1870. Sir O’Sullevan is the festival’s longest running commentator calling home a record 50 winners between 1947 and 1997.
Although the Grand National does not have an official dress code, they encourage people to wear smart casual. This is the reason why the festival is a kaleidoscope of colours throughout the three days it is held. People take their dressing seriously, usually choosing and creating their outfits a few months in advance. This is also the day ladies come out and showcase their hats. The range of hats in itself is an attraction with different types on display, and different designs being tried out. Feathers, flowers, and other adornments are usually on display.
The Grand National Festival 2018 is one event that you will be talking about for a while. Whether you are there for the horses, the history, the culture or the fashion, this is an event well worth attending.