Grand National

The Grand National (also known as the National) is a National Hunt horse race which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap steeplechase run over a distance of 4 miles and 4 furlongs (7,242 m), with horses jumping 30 fences over two circuits of Aintree's National Course. The race has been held at Aintree each year since 1839, with the exception of 1916–1918 during the First World War when it was held at Gatwick Racecourse, 1941–1945 during the Second World War when it was called off, and in 1993 when the race was declared void owing to a false start. The next Grand National will be held on 6 April 2013.

The steeplechase is the centrepiece of a three-day meeting, one of only four run at Aintree in the racing season. It is the most valuable National Hunt event in Britain, offering a total prize fund of £975,000 in 2012. The race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.

The racecourse is triangular in shape and contains sixteen fences, all except The Chair and the Water Jump are jumped twice. The course has a reputation as the ultimate test of horse and jockey, most starters failing to complete the two circuits. Certain fences are famous for their severity, most notably Becher's Brook, The Chair, and the Canal Turn.

The National is listed on the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events, ensuring it is broadcast live on free-to-air terrestrial television in the United Kingdom. The first radio commentary of the race was broadcast by Meyrick Good and George Allison on the BBC in 1927; the first televised coverage was in 1960 with commentary led by Peter O'Sullevan. The BBC retained the broadcasting rights until 2012, when it was announced that Channel 4 had won a four-year deal to broadcast the race from 2013, bringing to an end the BBC's rights to the National after 52 years. An estimated 500 to 600 million viewers watch the Grand National in over 140 countries.

The most recent Grand National took place on 14 April 2012 and was won by Neptune Collonges, ridden by jockey Daryl Jacob for trainer Paul Nicholls and owner John Hales.

Read more about Grand NationalThe Course, Records, Winners, Jockeys, Horse Welfare, Grand National Legends

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