For all the great horses and great jump races across the world there are few that transcend the sport quite like the Grand National which will be run on Saturday, at 4.15pm.
More than 500 million people around the world are expected to tune in for the world’s most-famous steeplechase at Aintree.
On the day, 40 horses and jockeys will line up to race across the famous fences including Becher’s Brook, Canal Turn and The Chair.
This year’s Crabbie’s Grand National has a lady trainer in Rebecca Curtis training the favourite in Teaforthree who finished a game third in last year’s race behind long shot Auroras Encore.
Mercury racing tipster Kevan Minter, known on these pages as the Colonel, said: “ I can’t see any reason why he won’t go very close this year.
“He is a brilliant jumper and he stays longer than the mother-in-law.”
The Colonel’s picks for the race are Teaforthree at 9/1, Long Run at 14/1, Tidal Bay at 16/1 and Rainbow Hunter at 33/1.
For those with a little more daring he suggests backing long shot Our Farther at 40/1.
The first official races at Aintree were organised by a syndicate, headed by the owner of Liverpool’s Waterloo Hotel, Mr William Lynn.
He leased the land from Lord Sefton, set out a course and built a grandstand and on July 7,1829, a horse called Mufti won the opening race, called the Croxteth Stakes run over one and a quarter miles, watched by a crowd of 40,000.
In 1835, a horse called Lottery won the first running of the Grand National, and in those days they had to jump a stone wall and cross a stretch of ploughed land and finish jumping two hurdles. The race was called then The Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.
The person charged with bringing the course into modern times was Mrs Mirabel Topham in 1934, and a new course was built in 1953.
In the 1970’s it was bought by Bill Davies who started by whacking up the admission prices and in 1975, when L’Escargot won the great race, it was the smallest crowd in living memory.
In 1975 Ladbrokes stepped in and in the 1980’s Seagram’s Distillers signed a sponsorship deal and the rest is history.