With the 2013 National just behind us – and a long wait until next year’s race, it seemed like the ideal time to take a brief look back down the years at a few of the highlights the great race has thrown up through the years…
- Famously, the first official winner in 1839 (the 1839 race is considered the first official running – though a predecessor race was held three times from 1836-38) was called Lottery. Incidentally, The Duke won the 1836 and 1837 “Great Liverpool Steeplechases” at Aintree, which would later become Grand National. And his jockey was none other than the legendary Captain Martin Becher after whom Becher's Brook was named. The Duke was third in 1838.Lottery was the 5-1 favourite for the first official running. At this time, most of the fences were small country banks, but they included a stone wall - and much of the course was un-turfed.
- The race didn’t become a handicap until the 1843 running. The most famous National horse in the early era was Manifesto. He won the race twice - in 1897 and 1899 - and ran in a total of eight Nationals, making the placings no fewer than six times!
- In the 1928 National after a pile up at the Canal Turn, only two horses completed the Aintree course and Tipperary Tim came home the 100-1 winner.
- The five-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Golden Miller, also won the National in 1934 and remains the only horse to have won both great races in one season.
- In 1956, the Dick Francis-ridden Devon Loch was famously well clear on the long run-in when he
suddenly and inexplicably flopped onto his belly. ESB went on to win.