Grand National fever

Controversy hits the Aintree racecourse again as two horse are put down after falling in the 2012 Grand National.

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Grand National facts and figures

  • The first Grand National was run in 1837 at the Great Liverpool Steeplechase at Maghull, three miles away from the present Aintree racecourse.
  • The winner of that race was the aptly named Lottery.
  • An estimated £300 million is staked on the race worldwide.
  • The race is an energy-sapping four miles and four furlongs.
  • During the early Grand Nationals, the obstacles included a stone wall located where the Water Jump is now.
  • The Jockey Club bought Aintree in 1983, after 20 years of uncertainty over its future.

Katie could be first woman to win Grand National

Today's race at Aintree will be the debut Grand National ride of star jockey Ruby Walsh's sister Katie. She will be riding an Irish-trained nine-year-old called Seabass.If successful, Katie would become the first woman ever to win the most famous horse race in the world.

Katie Walsh will be riding her debut Grand National race today.
Katie Walsh will be riding her debut Grand National race today. Credit: Reuters

She said: "I'm looking forward to it, it's a great opportunity and I might never have a ride in the race again, so I just want to enjoy the whole thing.

"As women riders we are not treated any differently and we wouldn't expect to be, but at some stage a woman is going to win a Classic on the Flat or the Grand National and I just hope it's me."

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Millions set to watch Grand National

Millions of viewers worldwide are expected to follow the 165th John Smith's Grand National. Forty runners and riders will compete in the world's most famous steeplechase at Aintree this afternoon.

Today's Grand National is believed to be worth £975,000.
Today's Grand National is believed to be worth £975,000. Credit: Reuters

An estimated 600 million racing fans across the globe will be watching the race, which is scheduled to start at 4.15pm.

It will be the last time the legendary contest is broadcast in the UK by the BBC before moving to Channel 4 for the next four years.

The race will be worth £975,000 in prize money, making it one of the richest jump races in Europe

Thousands of women dress up for Ladies' Day

A racegoer on Ladies' Day during day two of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
A racegoer on Ladies' Day during day two of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool Credit: PA
A racegoer on Ladies' Day during day two of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
A racegoer on Ladies' Day during day two of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool Credit: PA
A racegoer on Ladies' Day during day two of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
A racegoer on Ladies' Day during day two of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool Credit: PA
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