What Type of Horse Is Needed to Win the Grand National?

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The Grand National is a steeplechase that takes place annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. With £1 million in prize money on offer, it is the richest jumps race in the world.

Here is a look at the type of horse that is needed to win the Grand National.

Class

Although this race is a handicap contest, meaning all 40 runners should have an equal chance of coming out on top based on the weights, the recent results suggest higher-rated horses perform better.

Tiger Roll, Many Clouds, Neptune Colognes, and Ballabriggs, some of the winners of the last 10 renewals, have all operated in graded racing. They have had to carry 11 stones or more on their backs at Aintree, but it did not prevent them from prevailing.

The list of entries for the 2022 Grand National includes some of the best chasers in the UK and Ireland, including Galvin, a horse who is one of the tips for Cheltenham 2022. He is set to feature in the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he is +350 to capture the feature race of the meeting.

Jumping

One of the things that make the Grand National so unique compared to other steeplechases, is the fences the runners have to jump are much bigger than the standard obstacles in National Hunt racing.

In order to successfully complete the Grand National course, a runner has to jump 30 fences in total. Their jumping needs to be very good across their two laps of the circuit at Aintree. One mistake often leads to their race ending abruptly.

Horses who have a lot of experience as chasers tend to do better than novices in the Grand National. Often those who have had at least one run over the fences in the race or in another contest where the Grand National fences are used, also perform well.

Stamina 

At 4m2½f, the Grand National is a marathon race. It is the ultimate test of a horse’s stamina, especially if the ground ends up on the soft or heavy side. Although the pace of this race is slower than others in the sport, many horses just run out of steam on the final lap.

There are only a handful of races that come close to the Grand National distance in the UK and Ireland. The Irish Grand National, Scottish Grand National, and Welsh Grand National are obvious races to look for when it comes to a potential Grand National winner.

At the Cheltenham Festival, the National Hunt Challenge Cup features over the trip of 3m6f. Galvin won that contest in 2021 and is set to go up in trip for the Grand National. Tiger Roll also scored in the Festival contest in 2017 before going on to triumph at Aintree in 2018 and 2019.

This year’s Grand National will be 174th in the history of the race. The aptly named Lottery won the first-ever running in 1894. Whoever prevails in 2021 will add their name to the history books in the next chapter of this fantastic race.

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