The Grand National is the biggest event in horse racing betting, in terms of eyeballs on the race. Millions of people from around the world watch the Grand National live and place bets or join sweepstakes for this remarkable spectacle.
Nowhere else in the world do 40 horses vault 30 fences on the charge for such an illustrious prize. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other Grand Nationals across the planet. In fact, this extra-long steeplechase is a format that has popped up across the racing industry.
Here, Paddy Power takes you through the different types of Grand National horse racing betting fans can follow across the racing calendar.
Other Grand Nationals across the world
Irish Grand National
Probably the second-most prestigious Grand National after the Aintree one, the Irish Grand National regularly features horses that will eventually head to the Big One. It runs at Fairyhouse in Co. Meath every April, usually in the days before Aintree’s big run. Shutthefrontdoor won the 2014 Irish Grand National and then finished fifth at Aintree a year later. Organisedconfusion did the same in 2011 and ran at Aintree in 2012, but unseated Nina Carberry at the Canal Turn.
The Irish Grand National has a €500,000 prize pot.
Scottish Grand National
The Grand National’s start to stack up in April when the Scottish Grand National gets underway towards the end of the month. Horses that have run in the Aintree and Irish races very rarely compete here. The Scottish Grand National has run since 1867 and comes in at four miles. There’s a £150,000 purse at stake, and famous winners include Vicente (twice), Take Control (under Ruby Walsh) and Willsford (oldest horse to win the Scottish Grand National).
Welsh Grand National
Organisers of the Welsh Grand National don’t wait until April to get going. This race is booked in for Boxing Day each year and runs at the glorious Chepstow racecourse. First run in 1895, the Welsh Grand National has a £150,000 prize pot and runs over 3 miles 6 furlongs. Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and Coral Cup champ Native River both won the Welsh. Raz De Maree became its oldest champion since the war when storming to victory as a 13-year-old in 2017.
Grand Steeple-Chase De Flanders
Belgium’s biggest race, the Grand Steeplechase De Flanders has 25 jumps and is considered it’s Grand National equivalent. It has run since the 1850s at Hippodrome Waregem and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Taupin Rochelais won the race in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Grand Steeple-Chase De Paris
Auteuil Racecourse plays stage to the Grand Steeple-Chase De Paris every May, and carries a hefty €850,000 prize pot. The race covers 6000 metres over 23 fences, and is open to five-year-olds and up. First run in 1874, the Grand has actually has its distance reduced from a previous maximum length of 6500 metres in the late 1800s. Trainer Guillaume Macaire has won the race a record seven times. Recent double winners include Docteur de Ballon, So French, and Mid Dancer.
Czech horse racing is growing in popularity and the Velká pardubická is as big as it gets. The race takes place every October and is eight yards shorter than the Grand National. However, there is one more fence to jump (31). The race has run in Pardubice since 1874 and Železník remains its most successful champion, having won four times. The Velká pardubická is the perfect race for French, German, Czech and Polish horses to compete for big money. The last English jockey to win here was Charlie Mann on Irish horse It’s A Snip in 1995.
WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!
Maryland Hunt Cup
America doesn’t really do steeplechases but there are a few around, called Timber Races. And the Maryland Hunt Cup is probably the biggest one – and the one most aligned with the Grand National. The race features 22 wooden fences – difference in design to UK and Irish fences – and is run at Worthington Valley. Vintage Vinnie won the 2021 and 2022 Maryland Hunt Cups, setting track records on both occasions.
Swedish Grand National
The Swedish Grand National is billed as the richest jump race in Scandinavia, as well as its most challenging. There are 16 fences to vault here, and the race takes place in June at the Österängen near Strömsholm Royal Castle. It’s not common for jumps races to run in the summer but the ground remains soft enough for the horses to compete. The winning prize comes in at around £9,000.
Australian Grand Annual
This is probably the closest Australia gets to a “grand national”. The Grand Annual runs at Warrnambool, Victoria every May and consists of 33 jumps, which is more than any other race in the word. This is a gruelling steeplechase as the weather can be hot, and the ground hard. Al Garhood (2010 and 2011) was the last horse to successfully defend its crown.
DON’T KNOW YOUR ALL-WEATHER FROM YOUR WIND OPERATION? WELL, WE’VE GOT ALL THE ANSWERS IN OUR HORSE RACING EXPLAINERS SECTION
- Why are there false starts in horse races like the Grand National?
- How many horses are there in the Grand National?
- Grand National prize money: How much does the Grand National winner get?
- 9 things to consider when picking a Grand National winner
- 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?
- What is the distance of the Grand National? How far do the horses run?
- 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?
- 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?
- What is a sire and a dam? Why is breeding so important in horse racing?
- What’s the difference between a colt, filly, gelding, stallion and mare?
- What does it mean when a horse goes to stud?
- What do horse racing commentators mean by sectional times?
- What is the Royal Procession at Royal Ascot? Which members of the Royal Family attend?
- How do they choose Epsom Derby stall numbers? Is there a draw bias?
- How long does it take horses to complete the Epsom Derby? How fast are the runners?
- What has happened to the Queen’s racehorses?
- What is a stewards’ enquiry in horse racing?
- What does it mean when a horse is exposed?
- What happens when there is a dead-heat in horse racing?
- What does the Clerk of the Course do in horse racing?
- What does schooling mean in horse racing?
- How are horses named and who approves them?
- Men must wear socks and other weird Royal Ascot dress codes
- Market movers: What is a market mover in horse racing?
- What is a Ladies’ Day in horse racing and why do they exist?
- Where’s the toilet and how much is a beer – Paddy’s guide to Cheltenham
- How many horse racing courses are there in the UK? Full list
- Top 8 most famous race horses of all time
- 8 of the best retired UK and Irish jockeys
THE PADDY POWER GUIDE TO RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW