Aintree Racecourse – Aintree Hospitality 2018
Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool is known around the world as being home to the prestigious Grand National steeplechase.
A monumental challenge for both horse and jockey, the revered race is run over 4 miles, 2 furlongs and 74 yards. It is widely considered to be one of the most demanding and exhilarating competitions within the sport and spectators can expect to see a fiercely competitive battle unfold as a sea of spectacular beasts hurtle vigorously towards the glimmering finish line.
Existing for more than 170 years, the event has certainly seen some remarkable triumphs and spectacular twists. Foinavon’s astounding victory in 1967 was certainly one that lived long in the memory of every avid racegoer. Foinavon, an undistinguished Irish racehorse, shot to fame as he won the Grand National in bizarre fashion after the rest of the field collided in an astonishing mêlée at the 23rd fence.
A rogue horse had veered dramatically to see his right prior to the jump, slamming into his opponent at full speed, causing an incredible pile up to halt the race. Having been lagging so far behind the leaders, Foinavon, had time to steer clear of the chaos and jump on the wide outside, long before any of the others could remount or attempt the fence again.
It became one of the most breathtaking victories ever to be captured at Aintree Racecourse and will be remembered for many years to come. The fence was in fact officially named after Foinavon in 1984 and marks one of the most legendary moments in The National’s history.
There are traditionally 40 horses competing in each riveting race but fewer than ten may in fact complete the course. In 1928, 42 horses charged out of the starting blocks but only two managed to cross the finish line. It is testament to the fact that the competition is so challenging.
The record for the most victories at The Grand National is held by Red Rum, who won three times in the 1970s, in addition to coming second twice. He is viewed as one of the event’s most decorated horses and his superb statue sits proudly overlooking the racecourse.
There are a vast number of obstacles that racers must contend with as they fight tooth and nail to meet the finish line. Renowned hurdles include The Chair, Foinavon, Valentine’s, Canal Turn and Becher’s Brook. Great tales surround all five. Becher’s Brook, for instance, takes its name from Captain Martin Becher, who fell there from his mount, Conrad, in the first official Grand National in 1839, and took shelter in the brook to avoid any further injury.
Indeed, these fences are so infamous that their names strike fear even into the most experienced jockeys.
All bar the water jump are covered with spruce, unlike at any other course in British National Hunt racing.
Four other signature races take place over the National fences. These are the Topham Chase and the Fox Hunters’ Chase which feature at the Grand National meeting in April, along with the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase and Becher Chase in the November meeting.
Aintree also has other firm claims to fame.
Amazingly, it has also been used for motor racing. The British Grand Prix was staged there on five occasions, in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962. In addition, the circuit also held 11 non-championship Formula 1 races, known as the Aintree 200, first won by Stirling Moss in 1954 with the last winner being Jack Brabham, in April 1964.
The racecourse also contains a superb 9-hole golf course and driving range within its boundaries, and many a concert has taken place there.
Michael Jackson concluded the European leg of his 1987-1989 Bad World Tour at the venue in 1988, to a sea of 125,000 people.
Other noted performers have been McFly, P!nk, the Kaiser Chiefs and The Chemical Brothers.
Following on from a £35 million redevelopment project, Aintree now has two new Grandstands (The Earl of Derby and The Lord Sefton Stands), a new Parade Ring and Winners Enclosure and the fantastic Aintree Pavilion, offering a first class racing experience for the 21st century spectator.
Visitors who are eager to sample the magic of Aintree and the Grand National meeting during the off-season can do so by visiting Aintree’s visitor centre, open from May to October.
Enjoy three thrilling days of action and entertainment during the sumptuous Grand National Festival.
Make it an experience to remember with our official Aintree Racecourse corporate hospitality packages.