The Grand National is one of the most famous steeplechases in the world. Held at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, it is an unique test of horsemanship for the rider and also a test of a great significance for a horse.
The course is nearly two and a quarter miles in length and has 16 unique fences including the famous Bechers Brook. The fences have an added problem for the horses, the famous drop fences. Here, the landing side of the fence is lower than the take off side, meaning the horse approaching the fence is unaware of this fact until in the air. The biggest fence on the course "The Chair" is opposite to this with the landing side higher than the takeoff side.
In the Grand National the horses have to complete almost two circuits of the course and jump 30 fences, with a long 494 yard run in which has been the downfall of many in the past. The famous Chair and Water Jump are the only fences jumped once, this on the first circuit. The Grand National was first won by a horse called Lottery, who carried 12 stone to victory in 1839.
Aintree Grand National Web Site