The Aintree Festival 2018 has as its centrepiece the Randox Health Grand National, the most famous and exciting steeplechase of all. 40 runners and riders will face the fences of Aintree, Liverpool, following in the footsteps of first-ever winner Lottery, record-breaking three-times champion Red Rum, and recent winners One For Arthur and Many Clouds. From horse to jockey, there is always a tale to tell, and this has historically been a race in which legends are born.
The highlight of the racing calendar and watched by as many as 600 million people worldwide, the Grand National has always been the race of dreams. Since the first race in 1839, every owner, rider and trainer dreams of adding their own horse’s name to the roll of honour.
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The Grand National 2018
This year’s Grand National takes place on 14 April at 5:15pm. Over a distance of four miles (two-and-a-half furlongs), forty horses and jockeys – selected from 105 initial entries – will run over the National fences. It is open only to horses of seven or older and who have achieved a place in another steeplechase of three miles or longer. The pedigree of competitors can be assured, and the race winner always a matter of fierce debate among bookmakers and enthusiasts alike.
This year, Total Recall and Blaklion are among the bookies’ favourites. Currently offered at 10/1, Total Recall, trained by Willie Mullins, has seen his odds shorten as the big day draws near. Blaklion, who finished 4th in 2017, has until recently been odds-on favourite and remains in firm contention, especially following a win over the same course in December in the Randox Health Becher Chase.
If last year’s form is anything to go by, look out for last year’s second place Cause of Causes and Saint Are who completed the podium. The defending champion, Lucinda Russell’s One For Arthur, ridden in 2017 by Derek Fox, will not run this year due to injury – he was offered at 14/1 last year. The 8-1 favourite came fourth – none other than this year’s much-fancied Blaklion.
In the history of the Grand National, the legendary Red Rum has won the race in 1973, 1974 and 1977, more than any other horse. The jockey George Stevens has the lead in terms of trainers with a remarkable five victories, ahead of three veterans of four wins: George Dockeray, Ginger McCain and Fred Rimell.
The Aintree Festival 2018
From a champagne breakfast on Ladies’ Day to placing bets and beating the bookies, the Aintree Festival has it all, for experts and first-time race meeting attendees. The racecourse has opened a new hospitality suite for the 2018 festival, making the most fashionable festival even grander than before. To watch from afar or attend in person, the Grand National will have even the novice donning their hat and tails and cheering through the jumps.
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