Grand National

Horses jump 30 fences when racing the Grand National course

The Grand National was first run in 1839 and was won by a horse called Lottery. This year the race will once again take place on the 4 mile, 3½ furlong course at Aintree, with the winner receiving over £500,000 in winnings.

This year's event takes place on Saturday 9 April but racing takes place across three days with the Grand Opening Day on Thursday 7 and Ladies Day on Friday 8 before the Grand National Day.

Back to the events calendar.

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9 April - Check the weather forecast for the biggest steeplechase event in the UK, the Grand National.

The Grand National is an annual National Hunt horse race which takes place at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. The race is watched by around 70,000 people at the course, as well as an estimated 600 million global television audience.

Grand National weather forecast 2016
Grand National weather forecast

The course and the weather

The Grand National consists of two laps of the Aintree National Course with 30 fences for the horses to jump including the famous Becher's Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn. The course record is 8 minutes 48 seconds which was achieved by Mr Frisk in 1990. Red Rum is the most successful horse in the history of the race with three wins (1973, 1974, 1977). In 2015 the race was won by Many Clouds who was ridden by Leighton Aspell and trained by Oliver Sherwood.

Spectators and riders will all be looking for the perfect race conditions to suit the style of their chosen horse and rider. All 40 riders will be looking for a clear and not too gusty day.

On the day of the race the course officials will check the course conditions and inform the owners and jockeys. This information also helps those who have an interest in the race. Owners will be looking for the course to be classed as 'good' which means the ground will be neither too hard or too soggy.

Will the weather make for a successful race day? Check the Aintree Racecourse weather forecast.

Red Rum

Red Rum is probably the most famous name to be associated with the Grand National. Red Rum won the Grand National in 1973 and 1974, but then came second in the next two Grand Nationals. After having two years of poor race placements and calls to retire due to being over raced his trainer Donald McCain had faith that the winning horse could take one more title. Red Rum went on to win the 1977 Grand National.

Red Rum passed away at the age of 30 and is buried at the finishing line of the Grand National course. There is also a gold statue of the three-time winner at Aintree.

Weather forecasting and horse racing

As the national hunt racing season draws to an end Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at The Open University, helps to explain the nature of probability and how weather forecasting and horse racing are unlikely partners when it comes to beating the odds.

As one of the top two performing weather forecasting centres in the world, Met Office forecasts are highly valued. Continuing improvements in accuracy with, for example, four day forecasts today being as accurate as a one day forecast back in the 1980s, enable the public and society to take a wider range of weather related decisions with more confidence. The chaotic nature of weather does mean that there are unavoidable limitations to what we can predict. However, by calculating the confidence in a weather forecast we aim to give people a clear picture of any uncertainties.

The Grand National weather Grand National Weather Infographic


To check all the runners and riders in this year's Grand National check the official Grand National site.

You can check the weather forecast for other events through the Events Calendar.

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