Previous Grand National Winners 

Hosted for more than 160 years at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, the Grand National is a handicap steeplechase conducted each April and open to horses aged six years and upwards. It covers two laps around a 2¼-mile, left-handed turf track, with 30 fences to be cleared in total.

The current winner’s purse at the Grand National comes to about £500,000 out of a total prize fund of £9 million. This is the most anticipated event of three days of race festivities, which attract crowds of up to 70,000 spectators on site as well as some 600 million television viewers who watch the live broadcast.

According to official records, the very first running of the Grand National was conducted on Tuesday, 26th February, 1839. The race was then known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, and it was won by a horse named Lottery.

For the first several years, the race was held as a weight-for-age event with a 12-stone minimum. In 1843, it was changed to a handicap and renamed as the Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase. Then, in 1847, the event was reintroduced using the title that is familiar today, the Grand National Handicap Steeplechase.

Some of the great racers of that early era were the first Irish-trained victor, Matthew, in 1847; the first two-time winner, Abd-El-Kader, in 1850~51; and the oldest winner, 15-year-old Peter Simple, who reprised his 1849 triumph in 1853. In 1863, 7-year-old Emblem became the first mare to run to victory here. In 1868, The Lamb became the first grey—and then to prove it was no fluke, he won again in 1871.

Throughout the rest of the 19th century, the Grand National established itself as the world’s greatest steeplechase. Each year, it drew the best horses, the top riders, and the largest crowds ever witnessed in the sport. Jockey George Stevens became the event’s first three-time winner, succeeding on three separate mounts in 1863, 1864, and 1856. Then he pulled off a double aboard The Colonel in 1869-70. Stevens still reigns as the only five-time winning rider of the Grand National.

Between 1895 and 1904, Manifesto made eight Grand National appearances, winning twice, finishing third thrice, and carrying a record-setting 12 stone 13 pounds. In 1909, Lutteur III became the last of five 5-year-olds reach the finish line first before the entry age was increased to six. And when 6-year-old Ally Sloper claimed the day in 1915, owner Lady Nelson became the race’s first female to set foot inside the winner’s enclosure.

So popular was the Grand National after the First World War that the field of entries began to swell. In 1929, it reached 66, when 7-year-old Gregalach finished in first and paid a record-setting 100/1 odds. Then, in 1934, 7-year-old Golden Miller became the only single-season winner of both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National.

Following the Second World War in 1947, Grand National Race Day moved to Saturday, and an 8-year-old named Caughoo romped home on a heavy track to win at odds of 100/1. In the next decade, Vincent O’Brien became the first jockey to score a Grand National hat trick, winning aboard Early Mist in 1953, Royal Tan in 1954, and Quare Times in 1955.

Perhaps the greatest horse to run in the Grand National in the modern era was Red Rum. In 1973, he carried jockey Brian Fletcher to the first of two back-to-back victories with a time of 9’01.9”, which shattered the course record set of 9’20.2” set by Reynoldstown in 1935. In 1974, he won with a speed of 9’20.3”—the third fastest run in Aintree history.

But that was just the beginning. Red Rum struggled valiantly to defend his title in 1975-76, coming in second both times, before gaining a third Grand National victory as a 12-year-old in 1977, with Tommy Stack in the saddle. The winning time was a blistering 9’30.3”.

After retirement, “Rummie,” as the beloved horse came to be known, led the pre-race parades in Liverpool until well into the 1990s. When he died at the age of 30 in 1995, the “Nation’s Favourite” was buried at the Aintree track with his head facing the winning post. A memorial statue there bears witness to Red Rum’s incredible achievements.

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