National Hunt races are very popular horse racing events in the UK. Perhaps the largest of these is the Grand National. Held each year in April, it is a race that rivals the top races in the United States. It is a jump race, and in recent years the purse for the event has been £1 million. Each year the race draws the very best horses, horse trainers, and riders from all over the world.
The History of the Grand National
On February 26, 1839 the very first Grand National horse racing event in the UK was held at the Aintree Racecourse in England. It was started by William Lynn and conducted on the land that he owned. Lynn was also the proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel.
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The foundation stone of the Aintree Racecourse was placed in 1829, a full ten years before the first running of the Grand National race. There have been many changes to the Aintree track over the years, of course, but the location of the race is still basically the same.
The race has not been without its share of controversy over the years. Indeed, the very first running of the event saw the winner of the race disputed. Many even claim now that the first running of the race took place in 1836, and it was won by a horse named The Duke. The race was originally a local affair, but it soon evolved into a race that captured the interest of an entire nation.
How the Grand National Race is Run
The Grand National is classified as a National Hunt race. These types of races are not like regular horse racing events. They are contested at much longer distances, and they also involve the addition of obstacles. Horses in the Grand National are required to jump fences and ditches.
As you might expect, this adds a higher degree of difficulty to the horse racing event. It can also make the race much more difficult to handicap. Bettors can usually count on a healthy payoff when making a bet on the Grand National because the race is filled with legitimate contenders to win.
Horses that run in the Grand National horse race do not compete in thoroughbred racing events. They are bred and trained to compete in the National Hunt type of racing. As such, this particular type of horse racing attracts its own betting crowd. The handicappers who like to bet these types of races generally focus on those races and those alone.
A Race of More Than Four Miles!
One of the defining characteristics of the Grand National horse racing event is that it is a race of endurance. The race is contested at a distance of more than four miles. Many people feel that this type of race is too difficult on horses. Some have even sought to abolish National Hunt races and steeplechase racing in other parts of the world because they believe the health of the horses is at risk.
The race is ran on a grass surface, this is standard in UK horse racing. It is also true that the race track for the Grand National is not flat. It is an undulating course that has many different grades. In an average year there are horses that will not be able to finish the Grand National horse race. Horses that are not able to navigate the obstacles in the race are disqualified and given an official finish position of DNF, or Did Not Finish.
Betting the Grand National
Betting for the Grand National horse race can be done in several different ways. The original way that the race was bet was at the track. The bets were taken by bookmakers who were allowed to set up on the track. Today there is still betting offered by bookies at the race track, and the bettor may be able to get the best odds when they choose to bet this way.
It is also possible today to bet the Grand National horse race with an online racebook or online bookie. Many bettors prefer the convenience of horse betting online, and some bettors are simply unable to attend the race in person to make a bet.
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