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Why the Grand National is Such a Major Sporting Event?

Whether you’re intrigued by the majesty of the race, backing your favourite horse, or just attending for the splendid occasion, the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK

  • Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events
  • Everywhere it garners a massive audience
  • Almost everyone in the United Kingdom is a huge fan this horse racing event

Every year, the Grand National garners a massive gathering. But, this huge crowd of people watching the Grand National at the venue and on television isn’t the collective of horse racing fans. Almost everyone in the United Kingdom, regardless of horse racing fandom and knowledge, has a flutter on the major event. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, people all over the world are tuning in and watching the horses that they back.

But why exactly does the Grand National stand in such high prestige, and how does it draw such a massive audience?

The Race Itself

Source: BBC Sport, via Twitter
Source: BBC Sport, via Twitter

The Grand National is one of the premier jump events on the horse racing calendar – likely only trailing the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in the opinion of most. To add to the trials of the jumps, the race takes place over a massive four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs. As the longest race in Great Britain, that also incorporates jumps, it’s seen as a great test of skill and stamina for the horses and jockeys.

Due to the nature of the race as well the massive field of competing horses – the most to line up was 66 horses in 1992 – upsets occur regularly. The last five winners have all had starting prices above 10/1, including One For Arthur’s 14/1 in 2017, Rule The World’s 33/1 in 2016, and Auroras Encore’s 66/1 in 2013.

At the 2018 Randox Health Grand National (14th April), there’s still a huge field of horses for people to back. According to William Hill, Blacklion, Tiger Roll, and Total Recall are the favourites at 10/1, but that doesn’t preclude the 16/1 The Last Samurai, or the 33/1 Vieux Lion Rouge from winning.

So, whether you back the favourite horse by the bookies, your favourite number, or a grey horse, there’s always the chance that your horse will stay in the race and jump all 30 fences while others fall by the wayside.

The Occasion

Source: BBC Merseyside, via Twitter
Source: BBC Merseyside, via Twitter

While other horse racing venues, such as Cheltenham and Epsom, boast the more recognisable tracks, Aintree is not only a scenic location, but it’s also in an area of residence. It’s known as the People’s Race; being so entrenched in the local community of Aintree embodies that sentiment.

With the Grand National seen as a major date on the calendar, people dress up in their finest and wackiest attire. Aintree is flooded with people who want to see the annual race as well as get swept up in all of the pageantry and the atmosphere.

One pub in particular now goes hand-in-hand with the Grand National. The Queens, which stands just a minute away from the racecourse, says that the Grand National weekend is the best of the year. With the bar open, barbecues fired up, and lots of music, The Queens becomes the perfect post-race venue.

Also Read: ‘Trojan Horse’ Antibody Strategy Shows Promise Against Ebola Virus

Much of the buzz comes from everyone having the chance to win a bet. This gets people cheering in a sport that they may not follow for most of the year. In fact, last year, it was predicted that in the UK alone, around £250 million was wagered on the Grand National.

Whether you’re intrigued by the majesty of the race, backing your favourite horse, or just attending for the splendid occasion, the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK every year.

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