Horse racing on occasions becomes more than just a sport and the importance behind this comes from its long standing history and significance. For example the Melbourne Cup in Australia results in a bank holiday for most and is known as ‘the race that stops a Nation’. Further backing up the impact the race has on the public on a whole. However it is the Grand National that stands above all in the context of worldwide public attention to racing.
The staggering statistics behind the race further enhance this as it is now estimated that around 500 to 600 million people watch it in over 140 countries across the World. Of course betting is a huge factor in the popularity of the race with many people having a flutter when they may not usually. Estimations show that around two-thirds of the adult population across the UK will bet on the National resulting in a turn over for bookmakers that is in the region of £150 million or more.
The steep history of the National stems back to 1839 and has continued to build over time. One of the key factors behind the race is the incredible spectacle that it provides each year. It is regarded as ‘the ultimate test of horse and rider’ which is why winners become sporting legends and icons to many following victory. None more so than three time winner Red Rum. This was shown in the fact that back in 2002 a UK poll voted his historic third victory in the iconic race as the 24th greatest sporting moment in history. This is an incredible feat for a sport that is still a long way behind the popularity of the likes of football.
The unique test of the race not only comes down to the 4 miles 514 yard trip that nearly all horses will never have ran before but also the incredibly challenging test of a horses jumping that is required for success. The fences have been made safer in recent years which has been an extremely positive move for the future of the race however the likes of Becher’s Brook and the Chair are still a difficult test for any horse.
The Grand National is similar to other major sporting events across the World such as the Olympics and World Cup in the fact that many people will not watch the sport regularly but become gripped by the event itself. The prize money for the race has now reached £1,000,000 which means it has become far more popular for connections of the top horses to campaign them for Grand National Glory. Last year’s victor One for Arthur gained connections £561,300 following his four and a half-length victory over the Gordon Elliot trained Cause of Causes.
Looking ahead to this year’s race anticipation is continuing to build with it now being just a few months away. Confidence behind the nine year old Blaklion is high following his dominance over a high class field over the National fences in the Becher’s recently by 9 lengths. This is following his highly encouraging fourth in last year’s National when he took to the unique fences so well. At the time he looked nailed on for victory only to tire on the run in after possibly being committed for home to early under Noel Fehily. A different approach in running is sure to be taken on the horse and who would bet against him adding another victory for trainer Nigel Twiston Davies in the World’s most famous race. The latest Grand National betting makes the improving star 12/1 to triumph come April.