The World-Renowned Grand National Steeplechase
The Grand National Steeplechase is well known all over the world and attracts as many as 150,000 spectators every year. The Grand National is held at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool on the last day of the three-day Grand National meeting. Aintree Racecourse is located in Aintree, on Merseyside. Before the Aintree Racecourse existed, the Grand National Steeplechase was held in Maghull, a nearby town.
The Grand National Steeplechase course is rated one of the most difficult and demanding courses for a jockey and his horse to complete successfully. There are sixteen steeplechase fences in total, including the Canal Turn, Becher’s Brook and The Chair, which have all become notorious over the years for their immense difficulty. What also makes the Grand National Steeplechase so unique, in comparison to other British National hunt racing courses, is the spruce that is used to cover all the fence jumps. Spruce is a type of tree that is part of the coniferous evergreen tree family.
The Grand National Steeplechase is not the only race that takes place over the Aintree Racecourse. The other races include the Fox Hunter’s Chase, the Topham Chase, the Becher Handicap Chase and the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase. The Aintree course also has a smaller Mildmay course, which includes a separate set of fences and hurdles made out of traditional national hunt material. The only fence that the Mildmay course and the National course have in common is the water jump.
The Grand National Steeplechase is over four and a half miles long with a 494-yard run-in to the last fence. A lot of the course is run on soft ground, which requires the competing horses to have a lot of stamina if they are going to be able to complete the course and make all the difficult jumps. In fact, out of the forty horses that begin the Grand National, only ten or less may actually complete the full course successfully.
Apart from the actual race, many people come to the Grand National Steeplechase for the glitz and glamor that accompanies such an event. Others come solely to pick a winner out of the forty horses that are listed to start the race. The Grand National Steeplechase is a must see on the English sporting and social calendar and is well supported every year.