If there’s one race to get you into horse racing this year it’s likely to be the Grand National – but this race is like no other in the UK. Not only is it packed with 40 runners, the horses must vault 30 jumps and run a huge distance to claim one of the biggest prizes in world sport.
Grand National distance
The Grand National is quite literally one of the biggest events in horse racing. Not only do 500 million people watch the race live on TV each year, but the prize pot of £1m is hugely lucrative for owners.
What’s more, the distance horses must run at the Grand National is further than most other races in the world. There are 30 jumps at the Grand National that take in two laps of the Aintree course and covers a mammoth four miles, two-and-a-half furlongs. That’s 6.9km of lung-busting racing.
In fact, the Grand National is so long that it takes around 10 to 12 minutes for the winner to cross the line.
What type of horses run in the Grand National?
Because of the distance covered and time taken to complete the Grand National, horses that compete in this event are only the very best stayers. This is a racing betting term given to horses that have proven to have high levels of stamina and endurance. Stayers take time to develop and so it’s no surprise the age of Grand National winners in recent times has been between 8 and 11 years old.
In fact, the last seven-year-old to win the Grand National was Bogskar in 1940, while no 12-year-old has won this race since Amberleigh House stormed to victory in 2004.
Tiger Roll, who won the Grand National in 2018 and 2019, proved capable of handling arduous courses across the country and also enjoyed long-distance success at Cheltenham, winning the Cross Country Chase – a three mile, six furlong race – in 2018. 2019 and 2021.
Horses often prepare for the Grand National by running in the bigger steeplechases at Cheltenham Festival.
- What does it mean when a horse is On the Bridle?
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- Why does Cheltenham racecourse have an Old Course and a New Course? What’s the differences between the two?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?
- What is a juvenile in horse racing?
- Grand National fence names and the stories behind every Aintree jump
- How high are Grand National fences at Aintree Racecourse?
- What are Grand National fences made of at Aintree Racecourse?
- Grand National fences: Order of jumps, total and which are taken twice
- Grand National weights: Why do horses carry different weights at Aintree?
- How many people usually attend the Grand National? What is Aintree’s capacity?
- How does a horse qualify for the Grand National?
- When did a horse last win the Grand National carrying top weight?
- Do Grand National reserve horses ever run in the race at Aintree?