Grand National History and Preview


.The Grand National History

Distance – 4 Miles 514 Yards – 30 fences & 2 circuits of the course

Criteria – Open to 7 year old plus AND Horses Rated 120 & Above – Placed in Chases of 3 miles+

Max Handicap Weight – 11 stone 10 pounds

Famous Fences –  Beechers Brook, The Chair & The Canal Turn


Founded in 1839, The Grand National was started by a hotel owner William Lynn, on ground owned by William Molyneux (2nd Earl of Sefton) . Lynn set out the course, built the Grandstand & had Lord Sefton present to place the 1st stone!


There is some confusion(With Historians) regarding the first few runnings on the Grand National (1836 to 1838) with some claiming the race was ran on another course called Maghull & not Aintree…. The winners of the 3 races – The Duke – 1836 & 1837 – Sir William(1838) are in the history books, with Trainers unknown until 1845…. The First winning trainer documented was W. Loft, whilst possibly being the winning Jockey too on a horse called Cure All(1845)



Gatwick racetrack and golf course


The race was ran at Aintree until the outbreak of the First World War ( 1916-1918) when Aintree was commandeered by The War Office, so the race was taken south to Gatwick Racecourse (on Disused Land) Yes you read that right…. Gatwick! These races were called The War Nationals & were won  by Vermouth (1916) Ballymacad (1917) & Poethlyn (1918)….. The race course was later turned into an Airport…. Yes Gatwick Airport.

The first winner of the race back at Aintree in 1919 was the winner from the previous year at Gatwick – Poethlyn…. The race continued to be held at Aintree until World War II. Although the race was run in 1940 & won by Bogskar, that was the last race until 1946, when Lovely Cottage was the winner.

Just like at Cheltenham, the Irish had their first winner in the 1950’s & it was that man again Vincent O’Brien, winning the race 3 times from 1953 to 1955, with Early Mist(53) Royal Tan(54) & Quare Times(55) but possibly the most bizarre incident of the 1950’s took place the following year…….



When the Queen Mother’s horse, Devon Loch, took a belly flop, when 5 lengths clear & with  only a hundred yards or so go the finish line & looking the likely winner took a belly flop & despite the best effort from Jockey Dick Francis(yes the famous Author) could not get the horse up or finish the race, so ESB, who was 2nd prior to the incident was the winner – A phrase coined as to do a Devon Loch, to lose when victory is within grasp!!


Red Rum winning The Grand National in 1974.

As time went on, the race course was put up for sale by then Owner Mirable Topham (No relation to the Commentator). It was purchased by a property developer, who trebled prices & by 1975, saw the lowest attendance ever recorded for the race…. That aside the 70’s brought us Ginger McCain & Red Rum, still the only horse ever to win 3 Grand Nationals ( 1973, 74 & 1977).


Aldaniti Winning The Grand National in 1981

As the decade closed a Jockey Called Bob champion, was diagnosed with Cancer & given only months to live by his doctors….. Cue the 1981 Grand National…. The Bob Champion National, when after making a full recovery & partnered with Aldaniti(who had just recovered from a Chronic Leg Problem) the pair won the race by 4 & 1/2 lengths & were superstars….. Even a film was made….. Brilliant is the romance of racing….


Also during the 80’s saw the first female trained winner, in 1983 when Jenny Pitman trained Corbiere to victory, not content with  one win Jenny Pitman won again in 1995, this time training Royal Athlete.

The 90’s had  a void race Monday National & race sponsorship……

1993 the race was declared  void when a incident involving a Jockey being caught in the starting tape & 30 of the 39 runners started……   Cue the stewards & a void race…..

1997 saw the race run on a Monday, after the course received Bomb Threats, the race was postponed, course declared safe after a huge security effort found no devices & the race ran on the Monday….. Won by Lord Ghyllene….

Sponsors of the famous race started with Seagrams & were followed Martel, John Smiths, Crabbies & Randox(2017)…

There have been 2 100/1 winners of the Grand National, 1967 Foinavon (won after a huge pile up) & then in 2009, Mon Mome became the latest 100/1 winner & the 3rd winning horse trained by a Female, Miss Venetia Williams trained horse brought home by Jockey Liam Treadwell. Miss Williams victory  was soon followed by Mrs Sue Smith, who with Ryan Mania won the race in 2013 with Auroras Encore. Taking the winning total won by female trainers to 4…..

Will the 2018 winner be trained by a female? Will the winner hail from Ireland? What I do know is….. The Grand National is the single most bet on race in Racing history… & a new champion awaits…..

Sourced from Wikipedia & The Complete Encyclopedia of Horse Racing.

All words are my own….. By Rich Williams


Grand National Preview 

Well it’s getting around to that time of year again , after the highs and lows of the Cheltenham festival all eyes now look towards The Grand National.We will also cover some stats and trends to narrow the field down to a few very likely contenders. Will the Irish continue their dominance on English soil to inflict yet another masterclass in Training on their English rivals only time will tell.

We will start looking at the current top 12 runners expected to make the final declarations and give a short review on their form and chances in this fantastic race. So without further adieu let’s get down to business.



Grand National Runners

  1. Blaklion – 9yr old – weight 11st 9lb – Although has only won 4 chases from 15 contested has not been out of the first 4 places and goes well fresh from a break and is one to keep onside. Currently 10-1              .
  2. Total Recall – 9yr old – weight 11st 4lb- Has won 3 chases from 9 contested those 3 wins came between October last year and February this year although fell when last seen in the Cheltenham Gold Cup has shown enough to suggest it could get involved but will need to concentrate more on its jumping. Currently 10-1                .
  3. Vicente – 9yr old – weight 10st 13lb – Has won 5 chases from 17 contested, although has pulled up and unseated the jock on last two starts, still needs considering as had won and placed 2nd in the two races prior to that. Currently 33-1                                                        .
  4. Ucello Conti – 10yr old – weight 10st 9lb – Has won 3 chases from 25 contested, although isn’t a prolific winner it has ran OK in spurts if you disregarded the pulled up and unseated jock it’s form would read 24274 and if repeating the form of those 2nds and 4ths could be thereabouts. Currently 25-1                                       .
  5. Houblon Des Obeaux -11yr old – weight 10st 6lb – Has Won 6 chases from 38 contested,last victory was in November last year, although form has gone a bit erratic since  finishing 6th twice and placing 3rd either side of pulling up, recent 3rd at Ascot hinted that the previous race problem is behind it. currently 100-1                                     .
  6. Lord Windemere -12yr old – weight – 10st 6lb – Has won 3 chases from 20 contested, was 7th in this race last year and although hasn’t won since March 2014 has enough racing ability to enter consideration. Currently 66-1           .
  7. The Last Samuri– 10yr old – weight 11st 7lb – Has won 5 chases from the 16 contested, form for last 4 chases reads 2243 has placed 2nd in this race back in 2016 but was well beaten in last years renewal. Currently 16-1                      .
  8. Vieux Lion Rouge– 9yr old – weight 10st 12lb – Has won 5 chases from the 13 contested, although hasn’t won since February last year, has raced 4 times since then and finished 6th, 4th, 7th and 4th, and needs to be respected. Currently 33-1                  .
  9. Saint Are– 12yr old – weight – 10st 9lb – Has won 3 chases from 33 contested, has ran twice this year and was pulled up on both occasions. Had finished 3rd and 2nd in the two races prior to that and could still sneak a place if fully over the two previous runs. Currently 66-1                                      .
  10. Vintage Clouds– 8yr old – weight 10st 3lb – Although has only won 1 chase from the 12 contested, has become a consistent performer since winning back in October last year, it’s form reading 2423 makes this an interesting contender for owner Trevor Hemmings who knows what it takes to win this race. Currently 50-1                            .
  11. The Young Master– 9yr old – weight 9st 11lb – Has won 4 chases from the 19 contested, although hasn’t won since April 2016 has been well campaigned without really threatening, hinted of a return to form 3 runs back finishing 3rd, has since pulled up and finished 6th making this a bit of a risky option. Currently 80-1      .
  12. Gasline Boy-12yr old – weight – 10st 10lb -Has won 5 chases from the 24 contested, last 3 races Gasline Boy fell then was a winner next time out before finishing 3rd in latest race, that form looks solid and has to come into calculations as a player. Currently 33-1


Now it’s time to look at previous Winning trends and Stats to narrow the field down to the few likeliest contender’s .


Grand National Winning Trends And Stats

  • No horse under the age of 8 has won the Grand National for 75 years.
  • 8 of the last 17 winners had jumped over the National fences previously.
  • Irish trained horse’s have won 6 of the last 18 renewals.
  • 16 of the last 26 winners started in top 8 in betting.
  • The Irish Grand National is an excellent form guide for this race.
  • French bred horse’s have won 3 of the last 10 Grand National’s.
  • Horse’s rated above 135 seem to fair better in the Grand National.
  • .

Now let’s apply these trends to compile our Shortlist and narrow the field down.


  1. Blaklion
  2. Vicente
  3. Ucello Conti
  4. Houblon Des Obeaux
  5. Lord Windermere


Well that concludes our analysis of the Grand National, we hope you have found our Preview and History informative in your search for a winner.


Written by Charlie McGreevy and Rich Williams