AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL & CHAMPIONSHIP STEEPLECHASE
Aintree Grand National Festival runs over 3 days at Aintree Racecourse. The Grand Opening Day and Ladies’ Day provide the build for the big race on Day 3; a race that needs no introduction; the Aintree Grand National, when the whole country seems to grind to a standstill to watch this iconic race.
Sponsored for 9 years by John Smith’s and with Ginger Wine producers Crabbies as its new sponsor since 2014, the Aintree Grand National race is here to stay.
A British sporting institution, the Aintree Grand National attracts over 150,000 race-goers for this race alone. Over 11 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2012 race on TV and witness Neptune Collonges photo-finish victory over Sunnyhill Boy in the final run-in and a similar number saw Auroras Encore win in 2013 and Pineau de Re in 2014!
3 Days of Top Class National Hunt Racing Culminating in the Grand National Steeplechase
Famous Aintree Grand National Course Fences
In the interests of safety, following recent horse fatalities and jockey injuries on the infamous Aintree Grand National course, significant changes to the construction of the fences have been made for the 2013 running of the Grand National Steeplechase.
The starting tape position has also been moved further from the crowd noise in an attempt to reduce excitement and speed coming to the first fence. The notorious steep drop after Bechers Brook has been levelled to reduce the drop and landing levels reduced on a further 3 fences.
AINTREE RACECOURSE GRAND NATIONAL ENCLOSURES & GRANDSTANDS
Aintree racecourse has 5 Grandstands + other Enclosures – some only available on Aintree Grand National Day. Enclosure tickets are cheaper than Grandstand tickets and offer the most economical way of attending the Grand National. Seats in the new Platinum County Lounge cost more.
Tattersalls Enclosure is the largest enclosure at Aintree, with access to view the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure and enjoy the café bars on Red Rum lawn. Ticket holders have access to the Irish Bar, live music in the Aintree Pavilion, tote betting + big screen viewing. Aintree Grand National mound provides viewing of the closing stages of each race.
WEST TIP SEATS
West Tip Seats are located within Tattersalls Enclosure; offering covered seating, terrific views of the last fence + access to a Private Bar and Tote facilities.
Open on Aintree Grand National Day only; steeplechase enclosure provides prime views of the early Grand National Course fences. Unreserved seating with a relaxed dress code offers a unique outdoor Grand National experience. While this enclosure has no access to the Parade Ring side of the course, it has its own bars, catering, betting facilities, big screen viewing and live entertainment.
PRINCESS ROYAL STAND
Princess Royal Stand situated between the Chair and the Water Jump, offers 2 choices; reserve a seat in the main grandstand or stand on the roof terrace which gives a terrific view of the of the racecourse and has its own private bar. The covered main grandstand offers excellent views of the final furlong of the Aintree Grand National and has a private bar.
QUEEN MOTHER STAND
Queen Mother Stand offers 2 choices; book a seat under cover in the Queen Mother grandstand or stand on the terraced roof. Located just past the winning line, the roof gives excellent views of the parade ring and racecourse. Big screen viewing is also available along with Tote facilities.
EARL OF DERBY & SEFTON STANDS
Earl of Derby & Sefton Stands are located either side of the parade ring with seating on 2 levels. Upper levels are the highest on the course and offer stunning views of the track. The terraces are in front of the stand and close to the action in the closing stages of the Aintree Grand National.
PLATINUM COUNTY LOUNGE
Platinum County Lounge is an exclusive new lounge bar style experience offering racegoers comfort & luxurious surroundings for their visit to the Aintree Grand National Festival. With reserved covered seats within the County Stand, overlooking the famous Water Jump and Winning Post, this is a prime location with VIP facilities.
Ticket-holders enjoy a private entrance, dedicated champagne bar, reserved seats, complimentary race-card, race-day hostess and souvenir badge. While no official dress code; smart is preferable.
County Stand is a standing area high up overlooking the finishing line, with easy access to both the Parade Ring and the Winners Enclosure. A popular stand with breath-taking views across the course and a big screen to view the race and is within easy access to both the Parade Ring and the Winners Enclosure.
AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL THE RACE – THE COURSE – THE FENCES – THE HISTORY!
GRAND NATIONAL RACE
With over 2 miles of luscious green racetrack, and horse-racing’s world’s biggest stars putting in an appearance at this jumps-only course, racing at Aintree is always exciting.
Aintree Racecourse is a National Hunt racetrack with 2 left-handed courses, both used for different races.
GRAND NATIONAL COURSE: The Aintree Grand National Course is 2 miles 2 furlongs round around and virtually triangular in shape, flat with BIG fences with a drop on the landing side and a long run-in.
MILDMAY COURSE: The easier Mildmay Course, situated inside the Grand National course oval, is 1 miles 3 furlongs in length, also flat, but the fences are not nearly so big as the Grand National course.
Intended as an introduction for new horses to the National course with smaller versions of the National fences, the Mildmay course fences are constructed of traditional birch and hurdles. The Mildmay course is used for all the other races on the Grand National meeting racecard and other race meetings during the year.
A British sporting institution, the marathon Aintree Grand National headlines 3 days of jump racing at Aintree, near Liverpool, culminating with a 40-runner steeplechase that is by far the single biggest race on the Jump Racing calendar and the UK’s biggest betting event.
With up to 40 runners lining up for the John Smith’s Aintree Grand National, this 4.5 mile race is one of the biggest and most competitive events of the UK sporting calendar attracting everyone from regular racegoers to those having a ‘once-a-year’ flutter.
Aintree Grand National Day features the final major race of this top-quality festival that stretches from Thursday to Saturday and is a natural next target for horses that won or were placed at Cheltenham Festival or are being targeted at Punchestown later in April.
The ultimate test of horse and jockey, the Aintree Grand National race comprises two full circuits of a unique 2¼ mile course, with 30 of the most testing fences in Jump Racing. Each fence is made from a wooden frame and covered with the distinctive green spruce.
The race is open to horses over 7-years rated 120 or more by the British Horseracing Authority, previously placed in a recognised chase of 3 miles or more. With a total prize fund of nearly £1 million and over half a million going to the winner of the Aintree Grand National, this handicap race carries a maximum weight 11 st 10 lb.
The Aintree Grand National Course has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most arduous test of horse and jockey in the world of national hunt racing. Get jockey’s eye view of the Grand National course in the video below:
NATIONAL COURSE & FENCES
The Aintree Grand National is run on the National course at Aintree, near Liverpool, over a distance of 4 miles and 4 furlongs; the longest of any National Hunt race in Britain.
The Grant National course is left-handed and has a roughly triangular shape with 16 fences, the first 14 of which are jumped twice. The Chair and the Water Jump, are jumped on the first circuit only.
Many of the fences on the course are household names. Here is a quick guide to the most difficult and most well known fences that your horse will have to clear if you’ve got any chance to taking a few quid off the bookies.
Westhead is the first severe jump of the race. Standing 5 feet high it has a 6 foot deep ditch in front.
Becher’s Brook is one of the toughest jumps in national hunt racing. At 5ft high it appears straightforward on approach, but conceals a 6ft 9in drop over a stream on landing; almost 2ft lower than on take-off.
Jockeys must sit back in their saddles to counter-balance the steep drop at Bechers. Competitors surviving Becher’s then need to make a hard right turn. Over the years many horses have died here, so it was modified recently to reduce risk. Still 2 horses died at Becher’s in 2011.
Canal Turn is an awkward fence. Riders must take a 90 degree turn on landing or risk a swim in the canal, forcing jockeys to risk jumping it on an angle to improve the chance of winning.
Valentine’s Brook is the next major challenge with a 5ft high fence concealing a brook on the landing side.
The Booth is one of the most hazardous jumps requiring horses to clear a 5ft 3in fence with a 6ft wide ditch in front.
The Chair is situated by the main grandstand. At 5ft 3in with a 6ft ditch in front + a landing side 6in higher than take-off, the challenge is great. Jumped once.
The Water Jump looks deceptively easy on approach at 2ft 9in but conceals a 6ft wide ditch on landing. Jumped once.
GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY
First run in 1839, here’s a quick guide to the key dates, horses & jockeys that have made the Aintree Grand National one of the greatest horse races on the planet:
1916-1918 + 1941-1945: Aintree closes due to World Wars I & II.
1934: Golden Miller wins the Grand National & Cheltenham Gold Cup, setting a record that lasted until Red Rum in 1973.
1956: Devon Loch collapses on the run-in after near certain victory
1967: 100/1 shot Foinavon wins after avoiding the pileup at fence 23
1973: Red Rum wins his first Grand National
1974: Red Rum wins the Grand National again for the 2nd time
1977: Red Rum wins his third Grand National in 1977
1990: Mr Frisk wins in 8 minutes 47.8 seconds – a course record
2004: Ginger McCain wins his 4th Grand National with Amberleigh
2010: Tony McCoy finally wins the Grand National on Don’t Push It
GRAND NATIONAL JOCKEY’S VIEW
WHERE TO FIND AINTREE RACECOURSE ON THE MAP & CONTACT INFORMATION
Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool is best known as the home of the most famous steeplechase in the world, the Grand National.
The course was opened in 1829, but steeplechasing did not start until 1839 and the National itself was first run 10 years later. The track’s future had been in doubt in the 1970s and early 1980s until a sponsor was found for the Grand National.
Now sponsored by Crabbies, John Smith’s sponsored the Grand National for 9 years to 2013; before them Martell and parent Seagram for 20 years.
The National course is nearly 2.25 miles around while the Mildmay course is about 1.5 miles. With 2 circuits of the National course and prize-money of just under £1 million the Grand National is the longest and richest Jumps race on the UK racing fixtures calendar.
|Address:||Aintree Racecourse, Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool, L9 5AS|
|Tel:||0151 523 2600|
|Admission:||General advance tickets £16; on the day: £19|
|Road:||Course is located on the A59, one mile from the M57 and M58. Follow A59 to Liverpool.|
|Rail:||Nearest station is Aintree. Services every 15 minutes on race-days from Liverpool Lime Street.|
|Car park:||A free Park & Ride scheme operates from Brookfield School, Kirkby (signposted off J6, M57 motorway) for the Grand National meeting. A complimentary coach service operates to the racecourse and returns at the end of racing.|