The Grand National
is the most famous horserace in the world. Officially first run in
1839, it takes place in early April at Aintree, Liverpool. The
spectacular steeplechase over 30 fearsome jumps over four and a half
miles, has a history filled with drama.
In the first
running a Captain Becher fell into the ditch which now bears his
name. In 1956 the Queen Mother’s Devon Loch looked set to win with
Dick Francis, only to belly flop yards from the line. In 1967 there
was a pile up at the fence before the Canal Turn allowing 100/1 outsider
Foinavon to come through to win. In the 1970’s, when the future of
the race looked in doubt, three amazing wins by Red Rum reengaged the
public, and who can forget the emotional win for cancer survivor Bob
Champion and Aldaniti in 1981. In the history of the race the most to
start was an enormous field of 66 and the fewest to finish was just
two. In 1993 a starting fiasco made the race null and void and in 1997 it
was postponed by a bomb scare and was run on the Monday.
The Little Book of
the Grand National tells all these tales with great
contemporary pictures and photographs.