For horse racing fans, the Grand National is the best of all. It brings together all the finest horses, jockeys and trainers to compete for the biggest prize. The Aintree Racecourse is also highly challenging, with horses having to jump 30 fences over two laps.
Punters start preparing for the Grand National long before the month of April when it actually starts. They start searching about what time is the 2023 Grand National or who are the favourite horses.
1- Devon Loch falls
The 1956 Grand National saw one of the most unforgettable moments of all time. Devon came on the brink of winning the prestigious race, only to fail in the end. The Queen Mother’s horse did something which baffled everyone. On the final straight with just yards away from the winning post, Devon Loch landed on his belly and came to a stop.
Dick Francis tried to cajole the horse but he was unable to continue. And to the anguish of the jockey, E.S.B managed to claim the prize in the end. After the race, the Queen Mother famously said: “Oh, that’s racing.”
Many theories later emerged that tried to explain the strange behaviour of Devon Loch on that day. However, it is not yet clear why the horse behaved the way he did at the Aintree Racecourse.
2- Foinavon’s victory
It looks unlikely that what happened in 1967 will ever be repeated again. The race witnessed one of the biggest shocks as a 100-1 outsider won the Grand National.
Foinavon had no chance of winning the race in normal circumstances. Three jockeys had turned down the opportunity to ride him before trainer John Kempton finally found a jockey, John Buckingham, willing to take the job. His chances were so low that neither the trainer nor the owner were at the racecourse.
However, something happened during the race that dramatically increased his chances. At the 23rd fence, a melee ensued after a riderless horse suddenly veered to his right. This brought almost the entire race to a standstill as horses crashed into each other and ran up and down the fence.
But Foinavon was very far behind and therefore he easily managed to avoid the chaos, and he soon managed to establish a staggering 30-length lead. Many horses tried to reduce the gap but Foinavon went on to win the race comfortably in the end.
His victory in the 1967 Grand National became so famous that a fence at Aintree was also named after him in 1984.
3 – McCoy breaks the jinx
Tony McCoy is one of the biggest names in horse racing. He has the distinction of riding a record
4,358 winners. The Northern Irish expert was Champion Jockey a record 20 consecutive times.
McCoy emerged victorious in almost all the famous races. However, the Grand National always eluded him despite a lot of attempts. But in 2010, he finally conquered Aintree on his 15th attempt with Don’t Push It. It is regarded as one of the best Grand Nationals moments of all time.
4- Red Rum shocks everyone
Red Rum is perhaps one of the greatest names in British horse racing. He didn’t have a promising start but Ginger McCain believed in him and started training him on the sands at Southport, England.
His first major victory came in the 1973 Grand National. The manner of that win was very memorable. His rival Crisp led the field virtually all the way and at one point was ahead by a whopping 30 lengths. And at the last fence, he was 15 lengths clear of Red Rum.
However, the Ginger McCain trained horse didn’t give up on the race and came with a thundering speed to make up the ground on the final stretch. And in the end, he managed to defeat Crisp by three-quarters of a length. This race is often considered as one of the greatest Grand Nationals in history.
Red Rum repeated the feat the following year in accordance with what the experts mentioned in all their Grand National horse racing predictions. However, the legendary horse came second in 1975 and 1976. Many doubted whether he would ever be able to win the Grand National again but McCain believed in his horse. And Red Rum didn’t disappoint his trainer as he succeeded in the 1977 Grand National to achieve a historic treble.
Article written by J Fountain