Grand National

Maya Driver

The Grand National, often called the world's greatest steeplechase, is the most famous horse racing event of all. It is the main race of a three-day festival at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. The three-day event began on the 2nd April with the John Smith's Grand National taking place on Saturday. This race is bet on by thousands of people who would not usually bet on horse racing because of the large of amounts of prize money that can be won. The race has a truly intense atmosphere about it: it is run by 40 or so horses over 4 miles 4 furlongs of track with over 30 huge jumps for the jockeys to tackle. The Grand National is infamous for the severity of its jumps, such as Becher's Brook and The Chair, and high numbers of casualties both human and equine, and has therefore attracted a great deal of attention from animal rights protesters.

The Grand National is so famous that there was even a film made about it called National Velvet starring Elizabeth Taylor in which a 12-year-old girl trained a horse for the race and then disguised herself as a man and rode the horse to victory. It is also famous for the champion horse Red Rum - the only horse to win the race 3 times. Since it is such a famous race, all sorts of people have a flutter and there is even a race at the 3-day event called the Housewives' Favourite on which bets are made based on horse's names, gossip and gut feelings rather than any knowledge about the sport. It's so easy these days to have a wager through online betting and many people find that it makes the races exciting when there's a few pounds riding on the outcome! If you search online you can easily find explanations of betting terms so that you don't just dive in without knowing what you're doing!

Are you a fan of horseracing and are you planning to go to Aintree? Leave a comment and tell us about your Grand National experiences.

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