The Grand National held in 2019 was the 172nd occurrence of this prestigious racing event, which is held at Aintree racecourse, near Liverpool each year. This jewel of National Hunt racing, is always much anticipated and this year was certainly no exception to that, taking place on the 6th April. The event is of course part of a three day festival of racing and so racing also took place on the two days prior the main event.
112 entries for the race were received, with 40 eventually starting, the maximum allowed. Nation wide the race, as has become customary, drew in audiences of millions. In fact ITV’s figures hit a peak audience of 9.6 million viewers, which was well up from the 8.5m figure of 2018. This just goes to show how there is no wavering in the attraction of the Grand National over time, the National is destined to be a ‘must see’ event, year on year.
Part of the reason for the increase in viewership may well have been the prospect of Tiger Roll winning back-to-back Nationals, a feat that was last seen way back in the days of Red Rum in 1974. Indeed, Tiger Roll did manage to pull off this remarkable achievement, much to the delight of those watching at home and those on the course. All got to witness a little piece of history. 66-1 shot Magic of Light gave Tiger Roll the biggest challenge, leading two fences out. Class eventually showed at the final fence though when Tiger Roll pulled away, repeating rare back to back wins, something that was 45 years in the making!
Tiger Roll was, understandably, heavily backed making him the first favourite to win the National in some 11 years. 19 of the 40 horses completed the race.
Top Five Finishing Positions
1 Tiger Roll 9 (Age) 4/1 Davy Russell (Jockey) Gordon Elliott (Trainer)
2 Magic of Light 8 (Age) 66/1 Paddy Kennedy (Jockey) Jessica Harrington (Trainer)
3 Rathvinden 11 (Age) 8/1 Ruby Walsh (Jockey) Willie Mullins (Trainer)
4 Walk In The Mill 9 (Age) 25/1 James Best (Jockey) Robert Walford (Trainer)
5 Anibale Fly 9 (Age) 10/1 Mark Walsh (Jockey) Tony Martin (Trainer)
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National took place on 14th April, 2018 at Aintree in the UK. 38 runners took part and all returned to the stables. For a time, Are Saints was thought to be touch and go, but thankfully his injuries were not as bad as thought. The 38 runners were whittled down from an initial 105 entries.
At the first hurdle, one of the favourites Blaklion was brought down. From there I Just Know led until falling at Becher’s Brook, which was bypassed on the second curcuit due to an injury received by jockey Charlie Deutsch. Another notable hurdle ‘The Chair’ claimed the aforementioned Saint Are and one other.
At the 29th hurdle mark three-time Cheltenham Festival winner Tiger Roll (10/1), under Davey Russell, made a break for it and the win started to look like a formality. However, the Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company (a 25/1 outsider) had other ideas, leading to a dramatic finish where it almost pipped Tiger Roll to the post, resulting in a photo finish. One more stride would’ve made all the difference, but the horse lost by a head. The difference between a £500,000 and £200,000 prize.
In a touching display, Russell, the oldest jockey in the race, dedicated the victory to jockey Pat Smullen, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, saying “This one is for Pat Smullen. I was speaking to him the other morning and he’s as tough as nails. I really don’t know what to say.”
Tiger Roll is trained by Gordon Elliott, who previously won the Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007. The eight year old is owned by Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive.
- 1st Tiger Roll 10-1
- 2nd Pleasant Company 25-1
- 3rd Bless The Wings 40-1
- 4th Anibale Fly 10-1
- 5th Milansbar 25-1
The April 8th 2017 Grand National was as highly anticipated as ever. With prize money of a staggering £1 million+ and elevated TV audience numbers due to the event being shown on ITV for the very first time, the occasion was bound to be something to remember. With such keen focus on the event it was no surprise to see a total of 100 entries received by February that year. This was eventually whittled down by the scratching deadlines and five day confirmation process. 39 horses evenually ran, with the favourite going into the race being Blaklion at A relatively short 8-1.
After two false starts we were underway with 50-1 shot Roi Des Francs impressing over the first circuit. Second favourite Definitely Red pulled up, no doubt much to the approval of backers of the favourite. Fortunes changes come the second curcuit, as the aforementioned outsider was hampered by a loose horse. As it neared the end of the race with a few hurdles remaining Blaklion started to make a convincing case for himself, though Rogue Angel was putting up a sterling effort too.
Blaklion had likely gone too early though, and with two hurdles to clear One for Arthur, who had been making steady progress challenged for the lead, bringing Cause of Causes and Gas Line Boy with him. The group were neck and neck, but One For Arthur had too much for his rivals and stretched out into a 4 length lead as he reached the finish line. He came in at odds of 14-1, bringing in prize money of well over half a million pounds, of which jockey Derek Fox will be more than happy to take a slice. Blaklion could only manage fourth place, but even this resulted in prize money of £50,000+.
Fox had broken his wrist in a fall the month previous, so this was certainly a stark change of forunes for him. He described he win as “an unbelievable feeling”.
||One For Arthur
||Cause of Causes
||Mr Jamie Codd
Like the previous year’s race, the 2016 Grand National had a £1 million prize fund. This season, fewer horses entered with a decrease from 40 to 39 in total. Besides fielding a historically low total number of eligible racers, punters excitement at watching the event over 4 miles 514 yards was at fever pitch.
The 2016 National title went to Davis Mullins atop Rule the World. This impossibly determined couple bagged owners an impressive £561,300 for winning (of which the jockey will take a portion!). Having been trained by Mouse Morris, the 33/1 shot victor outshone his neaarest rival to the tune of 6 lengths.
Second place went to David Bass, a chaser who ably steered The Last Samuri to a second place finish behind the unyielding Mullins/Rule the World duo. David Bass/The Last Samuri gained owners £211,100. Vic Canvas, mounted by Robert Dunne, overcame huge 100/1 shot betting odds to finish third, and thus take home £105,500.
The race was broadcast live on Channel 4. This marked the very last airing turn since the prestigious broadcast rights were to move to ITV in 2017. BBC Radio simultaneously covered Aintree’s deafening roars so there was no excuse to miss the action!