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The History of the UK Grand National
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Grand National Origins
The origins of the Grand National can be traced back to the first official races at Aintree which were initiated by the owner of Liverpool's Waterloo Hotel, Mr William Lynn. Lynn who leased the land from Lord Sefton, built a course, built a grandstand and staged the first Flat fixture on July 7, 1829. On Tuesday February 26, 1839, Lottery became the first winner of The Grand National. In those days the field had to jump a stone wall (now the water jump), cross a stretch of plough land and finish over two hurdles. The Grand National in the days of the Topham family owned substantial tracts of land around Aintree and had been involved with managing the course since the early years of the Aintree Meeting. In 1949 Lord Sefton sold the course to the Tophams who appointed ex-Gaiety Girl Mirabel Topham to manage it. Mrs Topham built a new track within the established National Racecourse and named it after Lord Mildmay, a fine amateur jockey and lover of the Grand National. The Mildmay course opened in 1953, the same year as the motor circuit which still encircles the track. The motor circuit was another of Mrs Topham's ideas and it quickly gained a reputation as one the best in the world hosting a European Grand Prix and five British Grand Prix. Stirling Moss won his first Grand Prix on it in 1955 while Jim Clark won the 1962 event.

Grand National Betting
Due to the size and competitive nature of the Grand National field, the race is often won by a horse with a double-figure starting price. Only Grittar (7/1), West Tip (15/2), Rough Quest (7/1) and Earth Summit (7/1) have been returned at less than 10/1 since 1978. Only three of the last 25 favourites have won: Grittar in 1982, Rough Quest in 1996 and Earth Summit in 1998. Both West Tip (15/2) and Rhyme 'N' Reason (10/1) were second favourites. There have been seven long-priced surprises in the last 25 runnings: Last Suspect at 50/1, Royal Athlete and Ben Nevis both at 40/1, Red Marauder at 33-1, Maori Venture and Little Polveir both at 28/1 and Rubstic at 25/1.

Grand National Odds
Two 100/1-shots have been placed since 1980, in 1995 Over The Deel and in 1997 Camelot Knight. Four winners in the race's history have started at 100/1: Tipperary Tim (1928), Gregalach (1929), Caughoo (1947) and Foinavon (1967) while Poethlyn (1919) is the shortest-priced winner of the race at 11/4.

Grand National Jockeys
Carl Llewellyn holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, on Party Politics in 1992 and Earth Summit in 1998. Richard Dunwoody had two successes, with Miinnehoma in 1994 and in 1986 on the consistent West Tip, on whom he also finished second once (1989) and fourth twice (1987 & 1988). Many famous and highly-successful jockeys have tried and failed to win the race, including Peter Scudamore, who finished third in 1985 on Corbiere, and the seven-times champion jockey, John Francome, who rode Rough And Tumble to finish third in 1979. In 1982 Geraldine Rees on Cheers became the first female jockey to complete the Grand National course. Only Rosemary Henderson on her own horse, the 13-year-old Fiddlers Pike, has managed to emulate her, when finishing fifth at 100/1 in 1994.

Grand National Trainers
No single current trainer has dominated the roll of honour. Ginger McCain has won the great race four times (with Red Rum, three times winner, and recently, Amberleigh House in 2004), while Toby Balding (Highland Wedding and Little Polveir) has been successful twice. The late Fred Rimell trained four winners, being responsible for E.S.B. in 1956, Nicolaus Silver in 1961, Gay Trip in 1970 and Rag Trade in 1976, while the retired Jenny Pitman, the only woman to train a Martell Grand National winner, had Corbiere (1983) and Royal Athlete (1995). Her Esha Ness also "won" the void race in 1993.

Grand National Horses Weights
Horses hailing from the top end of the handicap have had a poor record in the Grand National in recent years, with 22 out of the last 25 winners carrying less than 11 stone. The highest-weighted winner in that period was Grittar in 1982 with 11st 5lb. Corbiere (11st 4lb) is the only other one who has carried more than 11st to victory during the last 25 runnings, with Rhyme 'N' Reason shouldering exactly 11st. The last 14 Grand National winners carried 10st (Bobbyjo, Lord Gyllene), 10st 4lb (Bindaree), 10st 5lb (Earth Summit), 10st 6lb (Royal Athlete, Mr Frisk, Seagram), 10st 7lb (Rough Quest, Party Politics, Monty's Pass), 10st 8lb (Miinnehoma). 10st 10lbs (Amberleigh House), 10st 11lbs (Red Marauder) or 10st 12lb (Papillon). The 1999 winner, Bobbyjo is the joint lowest-weighted horse to succeed in the last 25 years alongside Lord Gyllene (1997) and Rubstic (1979), though Hallo Dandy in 1984 would have carried the minimum weight if his jockey had not put up 2lb overweight.

Grand National Horses Ages
Nine-year-olds and eleven-year-olds share the honours as the most successful age groups in recent years, each providing seven of the last 26 winners of the Grand National, Lucius (1978), Grittar (1982), West Tip (1986), Rhyme 'N' Reason (1988), Lord Gyllene (1997), Bobbyjo (1999) and Papillon (2000) were all nine. While the 11-year-olds were represented by Aldaniti (1981), Last Suspect (1985), Maori Venture (1987), Mr Frisk (1990), Seagram (1991) and Miinnehoma (1994) and Red Marauder (2001). Ben Nevis (1980), Little Polveir (1989) Royal Athlete (1995) and Amberleigh House (2004) at 12 are the oldest horses to succeed since 1978. Party Politics, Corbiere and Bindaree, all of whom were eight when they triumphed in 1992, 1983 and 2002 respectively, were the youngest winners of the Grand National in the same period. Earth Summit(1998) and Monty's Pass (2003) were 10 when succeeding in 1998 and, along with Rough Quest (1996), Hallo Dandy (1984) and Rubstic (1979), are the five from that age group to win since 1978. The oldest horse ever to win the Grand National was Peter Simple in 1953. He was 15 years of age. Why Not (1894) and Sergeant Murphy (1923) were both 13-year-olds.

Grand National Mares
Mares lining up in the Grand National have to overcome a long losing sequence for their sex, as well as the 30 fences. Thirteen mares have won the Grand National, but the most recent was Nickel Coin back in 1951. Since then, the mares Gentle Moya (2nd 1956), Tiberetta (3rd 1957 and 2nd 1958), Miss Hunter (3rd 1970), Eyecatcher (3rd 1976 and 1977), Auntie Dot (3rd 1991), Ebony Jane (4th 1994) and Dubacilla (4th 1995) have all finished in the first four. In 1999, the only mare, Fiddling The Facts, started the 6/1 favourite and was going well when she came down at Becher's second time round. No mares ran in 2000 nor 2001, 2003 or 2004.  In 2002, Wicked Crack was the only representative of her sex when she fell at the first fence.

Grand National Grey horses
Only two greys have won the Grand National - The Lamb (1868 and 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961). Suny Bay, who finished second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 and filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998, was one of two greys in the 1998 race - the other being Diwali Dancer, a faller at the first. Last year Suny Bay finished 13th, while another grey Kendal Cavalier finished 7th and a third, Barnoet, fell.

French Grand National Winners
Mely Moss, who was runner-up to Papillon in the 2000 Martell Grand National and the 1996 runner-up Encore Un Peu, came close to becoming the first French-bred winners since Lutteur III in 1909. The two other French-bred winners were Alcibiade (1865) and Reugny (1874). Huntsman (1862) and Cortolvin (1867) have been the only two winners actually trained in France, by Yorkshireman Harry Lamplugh, who also rode Huntsman to victory.

Irish Grand National Winners
The first Irish-trained winner of the Grand National was Matthew in 1847 and since then there have been 20 other Irish successes, with the 2003 winner Monty's Pass the most recent, following on from the success of Papillon in 2000. Bobbyjo (1999) was trained by Tommy Carberry who rode L'Escargot to victory for Irish trainer Dan Moore, his father-in-law, in 1975. The other Irish successes since 1946 have been Caughoo (1947), the Vincent O'Brien-trained trio of Early Mist (1953), Royal Tan (1954) and Quare Times (1955) and the Tom Taaffe-trained Mr What in 1958.

 
 
 
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