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A lot has changed since 1939, when the John Smith's Grand National was called The Grand Liverpool Steeplechase and the horses had to jump over a stone wall, cross a stretch of ploughed land and finish over two hurdles!

Here are our Top Ten John Smith's Grand National facts:

The Grand National was first run in 1839
In 1928 only 2 horses finished the Grand National
Red Rum won the Grand National 3 times (1973, 1974, 1977)
The oldest Jockey to win the Grand National was Dick Saunders in 1928 aged 48
In the 1857 Grand National there were 7 false starts
“The Voice of Racing” - Sir Peter O'Sullevan - last commented on the Grand National in 1997
Tipperary Tim, Gregalach, Caughoo & Foinavon all won the race at odds of 100-1
The first horse to complete the Grand National in under 9 minutes was Mr Frisk in 1990
Only 2 grey horses have ever won the Grand National. Nicholas Silver in 1961 and the Lamb in 1868 and 1871
The Grand National course has a total of 30 jumps

 

 

 

The Grand National meeting
History of The Grand National

Historical Grand National Photographs
The first official races at Aintree were organised by the owner of Liverpool's Waterloo Hotel, Mr William Lynn. Lynn leased the land from Lord Sefton, laid out a course, built a grandstand and staged the first Flat fixture on July 7, 1829.

On Tuesday February 26, 1839, Lottery became the first winner of The Grand National. In those days the field had to jump a stone wall (now the water jump), cross a stretch of plough land and finish over two hurdles.

The Topham Years
The Topham family owned substantial tracts of land around Aintree and had been involved with the management of the course since the early years of the Grand National. In 1949 Lord Sefton sold the course to the Tophams who appointed ex-Gaiety Girl Mirabel Topham to manage it.

A forward thinker and doughty character, Mrs Topham built a new track within the established National course and named it after Lord Mildmay, a fine amateur jockey and lover of the Grand National. The Mildmay course opened in 1953, the same year as the motor circuit which still encircles the track.

The motor circuit was another of Mrs Topham's innovations and it quickly gained a reputation as one the best in the world hosting a European Grand Prix and five British Grand Prix. Stirling Moss won his first Grand Prix on it in 1955 while Jim Clark won the 1962 event.

The Last National
Aintree suffered some lean times in the post-war years and in 1965 it was announced that the course would be sold to a property developer. Thus started one of the longest periods of speculation in the history of British sport - every year brought solemn warnings of "The Last Grand National".

In 1973 the Tophams finally sold the course to property developer Bill Davies who gave a commitment to keep the race going but his heart never quite seemed in it.

The attendance at the 1975 Grand National was the smallest in living memory (Davies had tripled the admission price) and the great race reached its lowest point.

Rescue Campaign
Late in '75 Ladbrokes, the bookmakers, stepped in, signing an agreement with Davies allowing them to manage the Grand National. Cynics condemned the move as bookies protecting their own interests but although the race attracts by far the largest share of betting stakes the result for bookmakers seldom brings a windfall.

Ladbrokes, like all true racing professionals, had a genuine love for the National and were determined to keep it alive. Their task stretched over the next eight years and they set about it admirably but Davies was reluctant to renew their contract. He was determined to sell Aintree.

Racing and the public in general finally realised that after so many years of "crying wolf" the threat was serious and a huge campaign was launched to rescue the race once and for all.

Jockey Club win through
Donations from the public helped the Jockey Club pay Davies' price and in early '83 he finally sold the racecourse. That year the Grand National was sponsored by the Sun newspaper but in '84 Seagram Distillers stepped in to provide the solid foundation on which Aintree's revival has been built.

Seagram chairman, Ivan Straker, started the ball rolling after reading a passionate newspaper piece by Lord Oaksey who, in his riding days, had failed by just three quarters of a length to win the 1963 National on Carrickbeg.

The last Seagram-sponsored National was in 1991 when the race was won by a horse which chairman Straker twice had the opportunity to buy; the horse's name was Seagram.

Johnsmiths Backing
The Seagram subsidiary, John Smiths, took over sponsorship in 1992. Over the course of Johnsmiths's sponsorship, the race has again experienced a boom, with record attendances over the last few years. In 2004, the race was to be the very last John Smiths Grand National meeting, with Johnsmiths's priorities changing and therefore not renewing its sponsorship. In 2004, around 150,000 people were at Aintree to witness the last Johnsmiths backed race.

The Great Revival
Aintree racecourse is now enjoying its most successful period in modern times. While many courses rely on subsidies, the Aintree management is very much commercially minded and on non-racedays all of Aintree's grandstands host wedding receptions, conferences and exhibitions.

In the heart of the racecourse the belongs the Aintree Golf Centre, featuring a superb driving range and one of the longest nine-hole courses in the UK.

Future plans include a new grandstand, as well as a redeveloped Parade Ring and Winner's Enclosure. Aintree's ambitious £30million plan will be complete for the 2017 Grand National meeting.


Famous Owners of Winners
1994 Freddie Starr (Miinnehoma)
1992 Mrs Patricia Thompson - mother of QPR chairman Richard Thompson who is also chairman of Windsor racecourse - (Party Politics)
1991 Eric Parker - (Seagram) part owner, chief executive Trafalgar House Group, the race was then sponsored by Seagram
1985 Anne, the Duchess of Westminster, (Last Suspect)
1976 Teasie Weasie Raymond, the celebrated hair dresser. (Rag Trade) He also owned the 1963 winner Ayala
1975 Raymond Guest, the former American ambassador to Ireland (L'Escargot)
1971 Fred Pontin, the holiday camp magnate (Specify)

 

The John Smith's Grand National meeting
Winners (1839 - Present)

YEAR, HORSE, JOCKEY, TRAINER, OWNER, SP

2005 Hedgehunter, Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins, Trevor Hemmings 7/1

2004 Amberleigh House, Graham Lee, Ginger McCain, Halewood International 16/1

2003 Monty's Pass, Barry Geraghty, Jimmy Mangan, Dee Racing Syndicate 16/1

2002 Bindaree, Jim Culloty, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Raymond Mould 20/1

2001 Red Marauder, Richard Guest, Norman Mason, Norman Mason 33/1

2000 Papillon, Ruby Walsh, Ted Walsh IRE, Betty Morgan 10/1

1999 Bobbyjo, Paul Carberry, Tommy Carberry IRE, Bobby Burke 10/1

1998 Earth Summit (bl), Carl Llewellyn, Nigel Twiston-Davies, The Summit Partnership 7/1f

1997 Lord Gyllene, Tony Dobbin, Steve Brookshaw, Stan Clarke 14/1

1996 Rough Quest, Mick Fitzgerald, Terry Casey, Andrew Wates 7/1f

1995 Royal Athlete, Jason Titley, Jenny Pitman, Gary & Libby Johnson 40/1

1994 Miinnehoma, Richard Dunwoody, Martin Pipe, Freddie Star 16/1

1993 VOID RACE

1992 Party Politics, Carl Llewellyn, Nick Gaselee, Patricia Thompson 14/1

1991 Seagram, Nigel Hawke, David Barons, Sir Eric Parker 12/1

1990 Mr Frisk, Mr Marcus Armytage, Kim Bailey, Lois Duffey 16/1

1989 Little Polveir, Jimmy Frost, Toby Balding, Edwards Harvey 28/1

1988 Rhyme 'N' Reason, Brendan Powell, David Elsworth, Juliet Reed 10/1

1987 Maori Venture, Steve Knight, Andrew Turnell, Jim Joel 28/1

1986 West Tip, Richard Dunwoody, Michael Oliver, Peter Luff 15/2

1985 Last Suspect, Hywel Davies, Tim Forster, Anne Duchess of Westminster 50/1

1984 Hallo Dandy, Neale Doughty, Gordon Richards, Richard Shaw 13/1

1983 Corbiere, Ben de Haan, Jenny Pitman, Bryan Burrough 13/1

1982 Grittar, Mr Dick Saunders, Frank Gilman, Frank Gilman 7/1f

1981 Aldaniti, Bob Champion, Josh Gifford, Nich Embiricos 10/1

1980 Ben Nevis, Mr Charlie Fenwick , Tim Forster, Redmond C Stewart Jnr, 40/1

1979 Rubstic Maurice Barnes John Leadbetter John Douglas 25/1

1978 Lucius Bob Davies Gordon Richards Fiona Whitaker 14/1

1977 Red Rum Tommy Stack Donald McCain Noel Le Mare 9/1

1976 Rag Trade John Burke Fred Rimell Pierre Raymond 14/1

1975 L'Escargot Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE Raymond Guest 13/2

1974 Red Rum Brian Fletcher Donald McCain Noel Le Mare 11/1

1973 Red Rum Brian Fletcher Donald McCain Noel Le Mare 9/1 Jt F

1972 Well To Do Graham Thorner Tim Forster Tim Forster 14/1

1971 Specify John Cook John Sutcliffe Fred Pontin 28/1

1970 Gay Trip Pat Taaffe Fred Rimell A J Chambers 15/1

1969 Highland Wedding Eddie Harty Toby Balding Thomas McCoy Jnr 100/9

1968 Red Alligator Brian Fletcher Denys Smith John Manners 100/7

1967 Foinavon John Buckingham John Kempton Cyril Watkins 100/1

1966 Anglo Tim Norman Fred Winter Stuart Levy 50/1

1965 Jay Trump Mr Tommy Smith Fred Winter Mary Stephenson 100/6

1964 Team Spirit George Robinson Fulke Walwyn John Goodman 18/1

1963 Ayala Pat Buckley Keith Piggott Pierre Raymond 66/1

1962 Kilmore Fred Winter Ryan Price Nat Cohen 28/1

1961 Nicolaus Silver Bobby Beasley Fred Rimell Charles Vaughan 28/1

1960 Merryman II Gerry Scott Neville Crump Winifred Wallace 13/2 F

1959 Oxo Michael Scudamore Willie Stephenson John Bigg 8/1

1958 Mr What Arthur Freeman Tom Taaffe IRE D J Coughlan 18/1

1957 Sundew Fred Winter Frank Hudson Mrs Geoffrey Kohn 20/1

1956 E.S.B. Dave Dick Fred Rimell Mrs Leonard Carver 100/7

1955 Quare Times Pat Taaffe Vincent O'Brien IRE Mrs W Welman 100/9

1954 Royal Tan Bryan Marshall Vincent O'Brien IRE Joe Griffin 8/1

1953 Early Mist Bryan Marshall Vincent O'Brien IRE Joe Griffin 20/1

1952 Teal Arthur Thompson Neville Crump Harry Lane 100/7

1951 Nickel Coin John Bullock Jack O'Donoghue Jeffrey Royle 40/1

1950 Freebooter Jimmy Power Bobby Renton Lurline Brotherton 10/1

1949 Russian Hero Leo McMorrow George Owen Fernie Williamson 66/1

1948 Sheila's Cottage Arthur Thompson Neville Crump John Procter 50/1

1947 Caughoo Eddie Dempsey Herbert McDowell IRE John McDowell 100/1

1946 Lovely Cottage Capt Bobby Petre Tommy Rayson John Morant 25/1

1941/45 No Race

1940 Bogskar Mervyn Jones Lord Stalbridge Lord Stalbridge 25/1

1939 Workman Tim Hyde Jack Ruttle IRE Sir Alexander Maguire 100/8

1938 Battleship Bruce Hobbs Reg Hobbs Marion Scott 40/1

1937 Royal Mail Evan Williams Ivor Anthony Hugh Lloyd Thomas 100/6

1936 Reynoldstown Mr Fulke Walwyn Noel Furlong Noel Furlong 10/1

1935 Reynoldstown Mr Frank Furlong Noel Furlong Noel Furlong 22/1

1934 Golden Miller Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget 8/1

1933 Kellsboro' Jack Dudley Williams Ivor Anthony Mrs F Ambrose Clark 25/1

1932 Forbra Tim Hamey Tom Rimell William Parsonage 50/1

1931 Grakle Bob Lyall Tom Coulthwaite Cecil Taylor 100/6

1930 Shaun Goilin Tommy Cullinan Frank Hartigan W H Midwood 100/8

1929 Gregalach Robert Everett Tom Leader Mrs M A Gemmell 100/1

1928 Tipperary Tim Mr Bill Dutton Joseph Dodd Harold Kenyon 100/1

1927 Sprig Ted Leader Tom Leader Mrs M Partridge 8/1 F

1926 Jack Horner William Watkinson Harvey Leader Charles Schwartz 25/1

1925 Double Chance Major John Wilson Fred Archer David Goold 100/9

1924 Master Robert Bob Trudgill Aubrey Hastings Lord Airlie 25/1

1923 Sergeant Murphy Capt Geoffrey George Blackwell Stephen Sanford 100/6

1922 Music Hall Lewis Rees Owen Anthony Hugh Kershaw 100/9

1921 Shaun Spadah Fred Rees George Poole Malcolm McAlpine 100/9

1920 Troytown Mr Jack Anthony Algy Anthony IRE Thomas Collins-Gerrard 6/1

1919 Poethlyn Ernie Piggott Harry Escott Mrs Hugh Peel 11/4 F

1916-1918 No Race At Aintree

1915 Ally Sloper Mr Jack Anthony Aubrey Hastings Lady Nelson 100/8

1914 Sunloch Bill Smith Tom Tyler Tom Tyler 100/6

1913 Covertcoat Percy Woodland Robert Gore Sir Charles Assheton-Smith 100/9

1912 Jerry M Ernie Piggott Robert Gore Sir Charles Assheton-Smith 4/1Jt F

1911 Glenside Mr Jack Anthony R H Collis Frank Bibby 20/1

1910 Jenkinstown Robert Chadwick Tom Coulthwaite Stanley Howard 100/8

1909 Lutteur III Georges Parfrement Harry Escott J Hennessy 100/9

1908 Rubio Henry Bletsoe Fred Withington Frank Douglas-Pennant 66/1

1907 Eremon Alf Newey Tom Coulthwaite Stanley Howard 8/1

1906 Ascetic's Silver Mr Aubrey Hastings Aubrey Hastings Prince Hatzfeldt 20/1

1905 Kirkland Frank Mason E Thomas Frank Bibby 6/1

1904 Moifaa Arthur Birch W Hickey Spencer Gollan 25/1

1903 Drumcree Percy Woodland Sir Charles Nugent J S Morrison 13/2 F

1902 Shannon Lass David Read James Hackett Ambrose Gorham 20/1

1901 Grudon Arthur Nightingall Bernard Bletsoe Bernard Bletsoe 9/1

1900 Ambush II Algy Anthony Algy Anthony IRE HRH Prince of Wales 4/1

1899 Manifesto George Williamson Willie Moore J G Bulteel 5/1

1898 Drogheda John Gourley Richard Dawson C G M Adams 25/1

1897 Manifesto Terry Kavanagh Willie McAuliffe Harry Dyas 6/1 F

1896 The Soarer Mr David Campbell Willie Moore William Hall-Walker 40/1

1895 Wild Man Mr Joe Widger James Gatland John Widger 10/1

1894 Why Not Arthur Nightingall Willie Moore C H Fenwick 5/1 Jt F

1893 Cloister Bill Dollery Arthur Yates Charles Duff 9/2 F

1892 Father O'Flynn Capt Roddy Owen Gordon Wilson Gordon Wilson 20/1

1891 Come Away Mr Harry Beasley Harry Beasley IRE Willie Jameson 4/1 F

1890 Ilex Arthur Nightingall John Nightingall George Masterman 4/1 F

1889 Frigate Mr Tommy Beasley M A Maher IRE M A Maher 8/1

1888 Playfair George Mawson Tom Cannon E W Baird 40/1

1887 Gamecock W Daniells James Gordon E Jay 20/1

1886 Old Joe Tommy Skelton George Mulcaster A J Douglas 25/1

1885 Roquefort Mr Ted Wilson Arthur Yates A Cooper 100/30 F

1884 Voluptuary Mr Ted Wilson William Wilson H F Boyd 10/1

1883 Zoedone Count Charles Kinsky W Jenkins Count Charles Kinsky 100/7

1882 Seaman Lord Manners James Machell Lord Manners 10/1

1881 Woodbrook Mr Tommy Beasley Henry Linde IRE T Y L Kirkwood 11/2 Jt F

1880 Empress Mr Tommy Beasley Henry Linde IRE P Ducrot 8/1

1879 The Liberator Mr Garry Moore J Moore IRE Garry Moore 5/1

1878 Shifnal J Jones J Nightingall John Nightingall 7/1

1877 Austerlitz Mr Fred Hobson Robert l'Anson Fred Hobson 15/1

1876 Regal Joe Cannon James Jewitt James Machell 25/1

1875 Pathfinder Mr Tommy Pickernell W Reeves Herbert Bird 100/6

1874 Reugny Mr John Richardson John Richardson James Machell 5/1 F

1873 Disturbance Mr John Richardson John Richardson James Machell 20/1

1872 Casse Tete John Page A Cowley E Brayley 20/1

1871 The Lamb Mr Tommy Pickernell Chris Green Lord Poulett 11/2

1870 The Colonel George Stevens R Roberts Matthew Evans 7/2 F

1869 The Colonel George Stevens R Roberts John Weyman 100/7

1868 The Lamb Mr George Ede Ben Land Lord Poulett 9/1

1867 Cortolvin John Page Harry Lamplugh FR Duke of Hamilton 16/1

1866 Salamander Mr Alec Goodman J Walters Edward Studd 40/1

1865 Alcibiade Capt Henry Coventry Cornell Cherry Angell 100/7

1864 Emblematic George Stevens E Weever Lord Coventry 10/1

1863 Emblem George Stevens E Weever Lord Coventry 4/1

1862 The Huntsman Harry Lamplugh Harry Lamplugh FR
Viscount de Namur 3/1 F

1861 Jealousy J Kendall C Balchin J Bennett 5/1

1860 Anatis Mr Tommy Pickernell William Holman Christopher Capel 7/2 F

1859 Half Caste Chris Green Chris Green Mr Willoughby 7/1

1858 Little Charley William Archer William Holman Christopher Capel 100/6

1857 Emigrant Charlie Boyce Charlie Boyce George Hodgman 10/1

1856 Freetrader George Stevens William Holman W Barnett 25/1

1855 Wanderer J Hanlon - IRE Mr Dennis 25/1

1854 Bourton J Tasker H Wadlow William Moseley 4/1 F

1853 Peter Simple Tom Olliver Tom Olliver Joseph Little 9/1

1852 Miss Mowbray Mr Alec Goodman G Dockeray T F Mason n.q.

1851 Abd-EI-Kader T Abbot Joseph Osborne Joseph Osborne 7/1

1850 Abd-El-Kader Chris Green Joseph Osborne Joseph Osborne n.q.

1849 Peter Simple T Cunningham T Cunningham Mr Mason Jnr 20/1

1848 Chandler Capt Joseph Little T Eskrett Joseph Little 12/1

1847 Matthew Denis Wynne J Courtenay IRE Mr Courtenay 10/1

1846 Pioneer W Taylor - Mr Adams n.q.

1845 Cure-AII Mr William Loft William Loft W Sterling Crawford n.q.

1844 Discount Mr H Crickmere - Mr Quartermaine 5/1 Jt F

1843 Vanguard Tom Olliver - Lord Chesterfield 12/1

1842 Gay Lad Tom Olliver - John Elmore 7/1

1841 Charity Mr A Powell - Lord Craven 14/1

1840 Jerry Mr B Bretherton - Mr Villebois 12/1

1839 Lottery Jem Mason - John Elmore 5/1 F

A race was run at Gatwick from 1916-18, organised by the National Hunt Committee.
There was no input whatever from the Aintree executive.

None of the three races was called the Grand National, runners at Gatwick raced in the opposite direction to that at Aintree (ie right-handed), and no attempt was made to replicate the Aintree fences. In 1916 the race was called The Racecourse Association Steeplechase and in 1917 and 1918 The War National. The winners of these races were:

1918 Poethlyn Ernie Piggott Harry Escott Mrs Hugh Peel 5/1

1917 Ballymacad Edmund Driscoll Aubrey Hastings Sir George Bullough 100/9

1916 Vermouth Jack Reardon J Bell P F Heybourne 100/8


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