When you are watching the Grand National live, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The Grand National race at Aintree is one of the most famous and hardest horse races in the world. This race occurs on April 6th. Over 600 million people across the world will watch this race. There is a three-day festival that occurs during this special weekend. There are over 20 races that take place during the weekend.
The first running at Aintree was in 1839. Ever since this race, it has changed quite a bit in the format. Some changes have been made to make the race safer for the horses and also the jockeys. The starting line has been moved further away from the stands to keep the horses calm before they start the race. It has kept its biggest jumps and is still the longest horse race in the UK.
The horses have to complete two laps of the course and they must make 30 jumps over 4 ½ miles. The jumps are called fences, and there are 16 different fences. All 16 are jumped the first lap, then the second lap, only 14 have to be cleared. They all have different heights and widths. The most famous fence is called the Chair, its 5’3”. Right before the fence, there is a six-foot ditch that they mist jump over too. In 2011 and 2012, two horses died while racing the Grand National and there was an uproar with local animal rights activists. The organizers of the race dropped the fences a little bit lower because of the deaths. The drops are also shorter, which helps reduce the dangers of the race. There have been no other fatalities since 2012.