The Grand National is an almighty beast of a sporting event, bringing punters from all corners of the world to Aintree every April.
With over 150,000 fans flocking to this epic three-day festival, it’s no wonder that bookmakers are rubbing their hands together with glee. And they aren’t the only ones.
The esteemed race is considered one of the UK’s Crown Jewels in terms of sporting events, alongside the likes of the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon.
And why wouldn’t it be? Forty of the world’s greatest four-legged champions galloping across well over four miles at breakneck speed, all vying for a chunk of the whopping £1 million prize pot.
It’s enough to make anyone’s hair stand on end.
Thankfully, we no longer have to head to our packed local bookies on the morning of the big race.
Instead, plenty of bookies offer horse racing odds, and those sites have made reigning champion Corach Rambler the early 16/1 favourite for glory in Liverpool next April.
With the runners not yet being confirmed, it’s unknown as to whether the horse will even feature in the event.
But you would imagine that both the gelding and his jockey Derek Fox will both want to defend the crown they won so impressively last year.
But let’s not forget about the legendary champions that have made this event what it is today.
Without them, we wouldn’t have those spine-tingling moments that we continue to reminisce about year after year.
From the unbreakable record holder, Red Rum, who took home the top spot three times in the 1970s, to the heroic and tear-jerking tale of Pineau De Re, who triumphed in 2014 with jockey Leighton Aspell riding him to victory after coming out of retirement – there have been some unforgettable winners throughout the years.
In 2018, a pint-sized equine named Tiger Roll did the unthinkable – he won the grandest race of them all. The little guy was the underdog in a field of massive stallions, but he didn’t let that stop him.
In a nail-biting finish, he held off a charging Pleasant Company to nab first place. His owner, Michael O’Leary- also the head honcho at Ryanair – called jockey Davy Russell a genius after the race.
And who could blame him after the magic he conjured up that day?
But it doesn’t end there, oh no. One year later, Tiger Roll proved that he wasn’t a one-hit wonder.
He became the first horse in 45 years to win back-to-back Nationals, becoming a bona fide superstar in the process.
Talk about an absolute powerhouse of a prize horse. Red Ruym wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. He wasn’t even a two-time winner like the aforementioned Tiger Roll.
No, he romped to victory in the big race at Aintree on three separate occasions in the ’70s, which is a feat that will probably never be replicated.
And get this – Red Rum didn’t just pull off that epic hat trick on a whim. He won back-to-back crowns in 1973 and 1974.
Unsatisfied, he then came back three years later and snagged his third win like it was nothing.
In between all that glory, he even managed to pull off two second-place finishes, making him the greatest horse to have ever featured in the Grand National.
Red Rum is still the only horse to have won the big one three times and as we said, he will probably be the only horse to ever achieve such a feat.
As such, it’s no surprise that the folks at Aintree wanted to immortalise him in some way – and what better way than with a jaw-dropping statue of the stallion himself?
As we mentioned earlier in this piece, Corach Rambler is the reigning champion at Aintree.
His is the name on everyone’s lips after romping home to victory by just over two lengths last year as an 8/1 favourite.
He managed to hold off a valiant effort from 20/1 outsider, Vanillier, who was nipping at his heels all the way to the line.
In winning, the nine-year-old became just the third favourite in 15 years to claim the title.
The David Pipe-ridded Comply or Die stormed home as a 7/1 favourite back in 2008, while the heavily backed Tiger Roll also made a lot of punters happy 11 years ago, living up to his billing as a 4/1 favourite to claim his second straight Grand National victory.
In April 2021, Minella Times galloped to victory on Aintree’s hallowed turf to claim an impressive five-length win over the 100/1 longshot Balko Des Flos. And let’s not forget the ginormous prize pot of £500,000 that came along with it.
The one and only Rachel Blackmore made history by becoming the first female jockey to ever win the Grand National in its whopping 183-year existence.
She ended a time-old debate and surely it won’t be as long before another female rider follows suit?