Grand National: The numbers behind the race

Unless you’ve spent your entire life in hiding you’ll of course be well aware of the Aintree Grand National. This race, the pinnacle of National Hunt racing is an annual equine treat for us all to enjoy, and comes hot on the heels of the much anticipated Cheltenham Festival, so there is much to enjoy over months of March and April. The Grand National itself is held on Saturday 4th April at 5:15pm and has heightened interest on account of Tiger Roll’s attempt to win the Grand National for the third year running. The feat would be a first, and would finally allow Tiger Roll to eclipse the joint two in a row record that the horse currently shares with Red Rum (achieved way back in the 70’s). Since we’re on the topic of records and statistics, let’s have a stat-tastic look at some of the fascinating numerical facts that make up this prestigious race.

Starting where we left off we already have the answer to ‘who is the most successful horse in Grand National history?’. Winning in 1973, 1974 and again in 1977 Red Rum is often credited with being the horse that saved the National. To this day, Red Rum is held in the highest regard. With his first win in 1973, Red Rum took an impressive 18 seconds off the fastest Grand National at the time – set in 1935 by Reynoldstown. His time of 9 minutes 1.9 seconds is to this day, world class. Records are meant to be broken though, and as such the current fastest Grand National course time is 8 minutes 47.8 seconds , set by Mr Frisk in 1990. Will 2020 change that? Possible but not probable; Tiger Rolls winning time in 2019 was 9 minutes 1 second, so he’s surely one of the best bets for the Grand National. And who does the slowcoach award go to? Well that would be a very pedestrian 14m 53s by a horse named Lottery in the very first Grand National.

With all of this talk of winning times, perhaps a celebration of the event as a whole is more in the spirit of things. So with that in mind how about we highlight the year that saw the most finishers? Well that would be an impressive 23 finishers in 1984 when Hallo Dandy was the eventual winner. And the least finishers was 1928 when only two horses finished, one of whom (Tipperary Tim) was an 100-1 shot. What are we in racing for if not for that often elusive big win. Unlike the exchanges, Bookmakers tend to cap the ‘pie in the sky’ winner variety of horse at 100-1, and a few 100-1SPs have won the Grand National over the years. The aforementioned Tipperary Tim, and in the year after in 1929, Gregalach, Caughoo in 1947, Foinavon in 1967 and last but not least Mon Mome in 2009. Are we due another one? Conversely, the shortest priced winner was a stingy (yet correct!) Poethlyn at 11-4 in 1919. What records, if any, will the 2020 Grand National bring? We’ll soon find out.