If there’s one sporting event that gets everyone talking it’s the Grand National. Steeped in hundreds of years of rich racing history (the first National took place in 1839), in April of each year it both grips and draws in the nation. Most (up to 10 million in the UK alone) gather around our TV screens or watch with friends in a local pub or bar. Others are lucky enough to attend the Aintree, Liverpool event and soak in every second of this competitive 4 miler. From office sweepstakes to following Grand National tips , and fun bets between friends, it’s one of the few sporting events that nobody wants to miss out on. Edge of your seat stuff from beginning to end. The 2020 Grand National is all but nailed on to be another memorable race, with the cream of the crop of racing all giving it their everything to win. In anticipation of the event, let’s have a recap of some of the unforgettable moments from previous Grand National races.
Everyone likes a sure thing, and the while the idea of grinding out a win is extremely satisfying after the fact, in the moment it can be a bit like pulling teeth. Still, if you come out on the right side of it ‘all’s well that ends well’. Many pulse raised punters will have been put in that position during the 2012 Grand National. Neptune Collonges, not given much of a hope before the race, put up a storming performance and the grey managed to win by just a nose.
We’re in the money
Second only to eking out a win on the line, is finding that big priced needle in the haystack. We’re not talking a 20-1 outsider here either, instead the real deal, a 100-1 shot. One thing in your favour in the National is that there are countless variables, so I’d be less inclined to rule out a long shot win – even though they are understandably few and far between. One of the only handful of times this occurred was with 100-1 shot Foinavon in the 1967 Grand National. Looking out on its feet in the early stages, several other fell (literally) by the wayside to make way for this unlikely winner. Only in the National!
Third time’s a Charm
Anyone with even a passing interest in racing has heard of Red Rum. The first horse to ever win back to back Grand Nationals he was instantly propelled into the racing history books, where he remains to this day. It was perhaps the gallant, and successful effort to win a third Grand National (this time in 1977 – the 131st Grand National) that cemented his legacy. Some had ruled out the prospect as far fetched saying that Red Rum was ‘too old’ at 12, especially after coming second in the 1975 and 1976 races. And yet did it he did! To rapturous on-course crowds Red Rum stormed home with a gulf between himself and his closest competitor, Churchtown Boy.
An attempt at a fourth win was floated for the 1978 Grand National, but a hairline fracture in the lead up put pay to that. By that stage though, Red Rum had nothing left to prove, and entered into a well earned retirement. Loved by the nation both then and now, this was a textbook lesson in grit and determination.