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Grand National Festival Racecourse

Nested in the village of Aintree within the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton near Liverpool, Aintree Racecourse is the proud home of the race the world stops to watch: The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase.

The Grand National Steeple Chase is the namesake race of The Grand National Festival – a three-day National Hunt horse racing extravaganza that offers a total of 21 exquisite horse races with a quality combination of hurdle races, steeplechases and flat races.

Aintree’s position in the North West of England provides an idyllic, easily accessible central location to suit fans from around The United Kingdom and The Republic Of Ireland. 75,000 enthusiastic horse racing fanatics descend on Aintree’s iconic, first-class horse racing venue for each and every race day the racecourse presents.

Aintree is technically made up of three individual racecourses – The Hurdle Course for hurdle races, The Mildmay Course for steeplechases and The National Course for just four particular races including The Grand National.

The National Course features 16 fences, three open ditches and a water jump thanks to the presence of a natural Brook. The highest fence of the course is known and ‘The Chair’ and measures 5 feet and two inches in height. Horses and jockeys competing in The Grand National are required to run two laps of this course.

Distance

Stretching 4 miles and 514 yards of Aintree Racecourse, The Grand National Steeple Chase is not only the longest race that is run for The Grand National Festival but also the longest race of the entire National Hunt horse racing calendar. The race involves two complete laps of the National Course and features 30 fences for the competitors to negotiate.

In contrast, the shortest races that are run for The Grand National Festival every April are The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase on Day One, Liverpool NHS Day, and The and The Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase on Day Three, Grand National Day. These two races measure just 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 176 yards in length.

Here are the track distances of the most notable and featured races that are run for The Grand National Festival:

  • Day One – The Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2 miles and 4 furlongs.
  • Day Two – The Marsh Steeple Chase (Registered as The Melling) (Grade 1) – 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 200 yards.
  • Day Three – The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase (Grade 3) – 4 miles, 2 furlongs and 74 yards.

Hurdles

Hurdle races are horse races that involve horses having to jump over hurdles, as you probably could have guessed, which, with a minimum required height of three and a half feet, are smaller than the fences jumped in steeplechases.

Hurdle races are usually shorter in distance than steeplechases and ultimately feature fewer obstacles as a result.

Here are the hurdle races that are run for The Grand National Festival and the running distances that are involved with each:

  • Day One – The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle – 2 miles and 209 yards
  • Day One – The Betway Aintree Hurdle – 2 miles and 4 furlongs
  • Day Two – The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle – 2 miles and 4 furlongs
  • Day Two – The Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle – 2 miles and 103 yards
  • Day Two – The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle – 3 miles and 149 yards
  • Day Two – The Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle – 2 miles and 103 yards
  • Day Three – The EFT Systems Handicap Hurdle – 3 miles and 149 yards
  • Day Three – The Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle – 2 miles and 4 furlongs
  • Day Three – The Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle – 3 miles and 149 yards

Chase

Steeplechases are much more physically demanding for horses and jockeys, with longer race distances and more frequent, higher jumps for the competitors to negotiate.

The majority of the chases that are run for The Grand National Festival take place on the Mildmay Course, however, there are four, including The Grand National itself, which are run over the iconic fences of the National Course.

Here are the steeplechases that are run for The Grand National Festival and the running distances that are involved with each:

  • Day One – The SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase – 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 200 yards
  • Day One – The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase – 3 miles and 210 yards
  • Day One – The Rose Paterson Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase – 2 miles, 5 furlongs and 19 yards
  • Day One – The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase – 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 176 yards
  • Day Two – The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase – 3 miles and 210 yards
  • Day Two – The Marsh Steeple Chase – 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 200 yards
  • Day Two – The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase – 2 miles, 5 furlongs and 19 yards
  • Day Three – The Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase – 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 176 yards
  • Day Three – The Betway Handicap Steeple Chase – 3 miles and 210 yards
  • Day Three – The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase – 4 miles, 2 furlongs and 74 yards

Flat Race

Flat races take the jumping element out of the racing and make speed the main focus. Flat races also require good pacing, stamina and patience. Those that take off too early may tire before the final post and those that leave their sprint too late may find themselves too far behind to have an impact.

Flat races are usually the final race of race days at National Hunt events, creating an exciting finale for racegoers and punters alike. However, only two of the three race days of The Grand National Festival possess a flat race fixture. 

Here are the two flat races of The Grand National Festival and their total race distances:

  • Day One – The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race – 2 miles and 209 yards

Day Three – The Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race – 2 miles and 209 yards

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