A-Z of Grand National Trivia


A is for Alburquerque

Beltrán Alfonso Osorio can only be described as a National obsessive. The Spanish Duke arrived at Aintree year on year to fulfil his childhood dream of winning the National and generally left in the back of an ambulance. In 1985 at the age of 57, he wished to have another attempt but his licence was revoked for his own safety.

B is for Ballabriggs

Ballabriggs, ridden by Jason Maguire and trained by Donald McCain won the race in 2011. He is currently enjoying his retirement at owner Trevor Hemmings’ stud on the Isle of Man.

C is for Chair

The Chair is the tallest fence at Aintree, standing at 5’3”. It is one of only two fences which are negotiated just once by the riders, the other being the Water Jump.

D is for Devon Loch

The Queen Mother’s horse, Devon Loch, was just yards away from the finish line when he inexplicably jumped up and fell to his stomach, leaving ESB to swoop by him. The Queen Mother famously said, “Oh that’s racing.”

E is for Entertainment

The Randox Health Grand National 2019 will provide us with three days of passion, thrills and entertainment.  Thursday is the “Day Of Champions”, Friday is Ladies Day #FabulousFriday and of course the Saturday is Grand National Day.

F is for Fitzgerald

Mick famously proclaimed after winning 1996 Grand National on Rough Quest: “Sex is an anticlimax after this.”

G is for Gamble

The number of people estimated to place a bet on The Grand National is 12.9 million with a total of around 250 million staked between them.

H is for Hallo Dandy

Hallo Dandy won the National in 1984 and raced until he was retired at the age of 12. In 1994 he was found in very poor condition but was rescued by the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre and lived until the grand old age of 33.

I is for Irish

Seven Irish-trained runners have won since the turn of the millennium: Papillon, Monty’s Pass, Hedgehunter, Numbersixvalverde, Silver Birch, Rule The World and Tiger Roll.

J is for Jumps

Runners have to complete two laps of the course, covering four-and-a-half miles and jumping 30 fences in total.

K is for Kindness

The annual jockey’s visit to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is one of the highlights of the Aintree meeting and stretches back decades. It is one of the most eagerly awaited days of the year at the hospital by both patients and staff alike.

L is for Liverpool

Tourist board officials for the Liverpool city region last year put the value of the race to the local economy at around £14m. Visitors spend their money on accommodation, in the region’s bars, restaurants, shops and local attractions as well as at the racecourse.

M is for Mon Mome

The Venetia Williams-trained Mon Mome was the last horse to win the National at a three figure price (100/1). Minutes after the biggest win of his career, Liam Treadwell was ‘humiliated’ by sports presenter Clare Balding about his teeth and for which the BBC and Balding were forced to publicly apologise.

N is for Nickel

Nickel Coin is still to this day is the last of 13 mares to win the National back in 1951. Baie Des Iles was latest mare to compete in the race, just last year when the grey finished in 12th place behind Tiger Roll.

O is for Over-round

In 2015 it was revealed that there had been an over-round of 165% on the Grand National meaning there was a profit margin of 65% for the bookies built into the available odds at the time the race started. The revelation caused uproar within the industry.

P is for Prize Money

In 2018, £561,300 was awarded to the winner, £211,100 for the runner-up, and £105,500 for the third-placed horse.

Q is for Queen Mother

A stand was named in her honour at Aintree in 1991. It is billed by the racecourse as being “at the heart of the racing action, with the winning post directly opposite.”

R is for Red Rum

Undeniably the most famous Grand National winner of all time. Triumphant in 1973 and 1974, he was second the next two years before his landmark third victory in 1977. “Rummy” died in 1995 and is buried by the winning post.

S is for Steeplechase

Originating in Ireland, the Steeplechase is a particularly difficult type of race. The name comes from early races in which the orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally crossing the many obstacles in the countryside.

T is for Tote

In 2016 a stunned Paul Wrathall won an amazing £49,734.50 on the Tote Placepot at the Aintree Festival for his £5 stake.

Mr Wrathall picked six horses that were placed in all six races on Ladies Day to land the bumper payout on his first visit to the racecourse.

U is for USA

American owner, Lois Duffy, won the 1990 Grand National with Mr Frisk. An eleven-year-old at the time, Mr Frisk still holds the fastest winning time recorded for the Aintree marathon.

V is for Vermouth

When Aintree was taken over by the War Office during WW1, the race was run at Gatwick Racecourse from 1916-1918 over the same distance. Vermouth, ridden by J.Reardon won the 1916 edition of ‘The War Steeplechase’ while it was hosted at Gatwick, the current site of the now airport.  Lester Piggot’s Grandfather incidentally won the 1918 renewal at Gatwick.

W is for What’s Up Boys

Richard Johnson now holds the unenviable record for the most rides in the National without a win. The two-time champion has ridden in the race 20 times without bettering the runner-up spot in 2002 on What’s Up Boys.

X is for X-Country

Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll landed his third Cheltenham Festival success in the Cross-Country Chase before taking top honours in the 2018 Grand National. The same plan of taking in cross-country races will be adopted for his 2018/19 campaign.

Y is for Youngest

Bruce Hobbs was 17 years and three months old when steering Battleship to victory in 1938 and remains the youngest jockey ever to win the race.

Z is Zongalero

Zongalero and The Tsarevich are the closest the multiple winning champion-trainer Nicky Henderson has ever come to victory in the world’s most famous jumps race when finishing second in 1979 and 1987.


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