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Aintree Grand National Betting Offers 2025

horses jumping over fencesThe world’s biggest, longest and most famous steeplechase attracts crowds of 75,000 people at Aintree in Liverpool and global TV audiences exceeding 800 million (that’s 10% of the world’s population). This one horse race attracts over £250 million in (legal) wagers the world over and with such a high betting turnover you would expect to find some top betting offers wouldn’t you?

Many bookies, however, do not have introductory bonuses during the Grand National, they value new national customers as ‘poor value’. Therefore to help you find added value we have complied a list of the best betting sites giving free bets on the big race this year.

On this page we also tell you which betting sites have free bet and bonus offers for the existing National punters, including extra places, money back and more. Make sure you get the most out of your Aintree flutter this year by taking up some of the offers listed below. Further down we’ve also got the schedule, history, key facts and more about the Grand National.

Grand National Free Bets for New Customers

Bonus For New Customers Only, T&C’s Apply, 18+, #ad
Bonus (T&Cs Apply)
Britain's #1 site for both racing & virtual sports, what more can you say
T&Cs apply 18+
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Registration required. #ad
7 Places E/W GN 2024
The Go To Racing Bookie
Best For Tote & Lucky Bets
T&Cs apply 18+
New customers only. Register (excl. 13/04/24) with WELCOME50. First bet £10+ at Evens (2.0)+ on Sports within 7 days to get Free Bets: £20 In-Play, £20 Acca & 50 x £0.20 (£10) Free Spins on Fishin’ Frenzy within 10 hours of settlement. 7-day expiry. Eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. #ad
Vibrant & Stylish New Site
Non-Runner No Bet GN
Ton of Specials & Features
T&Cs apply 18+
New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly., 18+ #ad
Six Places For The Big Race
Free Bet Refund If 2nd To Fav
Top Irish Bookmaker
T&Cs apply 18+
We've enhanced our Sportsbook Welcome Offer, giving new UK customers the opportunity to get 50% back as a Free Bet up to £35 plus 10 Free Spins! T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | #ad
6 Places for Grand National
Lengthen the Odds Markets
Run For Your Money
T&Cs apply 18+
18+ New Customers only. Opt in, bet £20 on Horse Racing, 1/1+ odds in 7 days, no cash out. Get £40 in Free Bets on set markets valid 7 days. Debit Card / Apple Pay payments only. T&Cs apply. See below. | Please Gamble Responsibly. #ad
Serious Racing Site
Lots Of Racing Offers
Brand With Heritage
T&Cs apply 18+
18+. New accounts only. New customers must have a minimum of 3 bets of £10 at odds of evens(2.0) or bigger on first day. First day losses equals all losing stakes less all returns and the day finishes at 23:59. Free bets must be entirely used and stakes are deducted from returns. Free bets expire after 7 days and are non-withdrawable. Full T&Cs apply. #ad
Lucky 15/31/63 Bet Bonuses
Weekly Free Bet Club
Other Money Back Offers
New customers only, 18+. Min deposit £10. Place a £50 bet on any sport at 2.0+ to qualify for £25 in free bets and 10 Free Spins. Free Bets and Spins valid 7 days. £0.10 Free Spins. T&Cs apply. #ad
Special Horse Offers
Serious Bookie Proper Markets
Easy To Use Site
T&Cs apply 18+
New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Code: PLAY10; 1x per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; valid 60 days; Min odds 4/5 singles, 2/5 per acca leg; Some bet types excluded; See full terms; #ad

Grand National Betting Offers for 2025

This event has not started yet, please check back nearer the time. For other offers see our main loyalty page.

Best Grand National Bookmakers

T&C’s Apply, 18+, #ad
Bookmaker E/W Places NRNB BOG Claim
bet365 6 Y Y
T&Cs apply 18+
bet365 offer Best Odds Guaranteed on every horse race - every day! Take a price on your selection and if the SP is bigger bet365 will pay you at the bigger odds. Only bets placed from 08:00 UK Time on the day of the race will qualify for Best Odds Guaranteed. Available on Horse Racing. Applies to bets placed on Win and Each-Way Fixed Odds markets only. All racing in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong is excluded. Bet restrictions and T&Cs apply. New and eligible customers only. T&Cs apply. Only available to new and eligible customers. Registration required.
betvictor 6 Y Y
T&Cs apply 18+
betfred 7 Y N
T&Cs apply 18+
Online & App only. 7 Places @ 1/5 Odds. Applies to single & multiple bets placed 12:00 11/04/24 – 16:00 13/04/24. Win or Each-Way market only. Best Odds Guaranteed does not apply. T&Cs Apply.
betgoodwin 6 Y Y
T&Cs apply 18+
10bet 5 Y Y
T&Cs apply 18+

BOG – Best Odds Guaranteed, NRNB – Non Runner No Bet

Table above shows terms for the Grand National race from UK betting sites.  All sites have non-runner no bet and best odds guaranteed on the day of the race, rule 4 may apply.

Best Odds Guarantee

best odds guaranteed
Grand National Best Odds Guaranteed

The Grand National has one of the biggest fluctuating odds markets you will see in sports betting. With a 34 strong field and lots of money sloshing abound prices can move very quickly. It is therefore not just about getting good odds on a horse but also about making sure you don’t get stung if you horse drifts out to longer odds at the last minute.

Clicking the link below will take you to our table of all betting sites that give best odds guaranteed ensuring that you get the better starting price if it is higher than the price you were given.

Live Racing Promotions

Grand National TV Racing Offers

The best deals in horse racing are reserved for those broadcast live on ITV with top bookies like Bet365 offering very generous free bets and money back offers. The Grand National race itself is just one of 15 races which will be shown live on ITV over the three day Aintree Festival.

Feature offers include price promises and free bets for winners, 3/1+ winner free bets offer and money back if you lose in the first race promotion. See all of these offers and further details on our live racing page.

Aintree 2025 Grand National Schedule

Day One 10th April 2025 – Grand National Thursday

Time Name Type Distance Winner
13:45 Manifesto Novices’ Chase Grade 1 2m 3f 200y £67,524
*14:20 Anniversary 4YO Novices’ hurdle Grade 1 2m 209y £61,897
*14:55 Aintree Bowl Chase Grade 1 3m 210y £140,608
*15:30 Aintree Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f £140,325
*16:05 Randox Foxhunters’ Chase Class 2 2m 5f 19y £24,155
*16:40 Red Rum Handicap Chase Premier Handicap 1m 7f 176y £56,270
17:15 Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race Grade 2 2m 209y £28,135

KEY: m – miles, f – furlongs, y – yards, * Live on ITV

aintree princes royal standGrand National Thursday (also known as Liverpool Day) at Aintree is often over looked by many looking ahead to the National itself. This day however boasts some serious high level racing with some top horses, jockey, trainers and owners on show.

There are four grade 1 races with plenty of prize money on offer along with a grade 2 and a Premier Handicap run. The entertainment will be top class too with live music acts and other features for the TV.

This is seen as a slightly more casual day and less packed days but actually one of the best for placing a bet. Many bookie offers will disappear on Grand National Day but on the Thursday you should still be able to claim all of the usual horse racing offers.

Day Two 11th April 2025 – Ladies Day

Time Name Type Distance Winner
13:45 Mildmay Novices’ Chase Grade 1 3m 210y £67,843
*14:20 Handicap Hurdle Premier Handicap 2m 4f £42,203
*14:55 Top Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 2m 103y £56,270
*15:30 Marsh Melling Chase Grade 1 2m 3f 200y £143,231
*16:05 Randox Topham Chase Premier Handicap 2m 5f 19y £84,195
*16:40 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 3m 149y £56,437
17:15 Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle Glass 2 2m 103y £25,720

KEY: m – miles, f – furlongs, y – yards, * Live on ITV

aintree horses running past the winners postThe famous day two at Aintree is known as Ladies Day. As well as horse racing this is also a ladies fashion event in the same echelons as the London and Milan fashion shows. Each year the ladies of Liverpool and beyond compete for the prize of the most stylish race goer.

In 2024 the top prize was a £4,000 River Island voucher plus a load of smaller prizes. With the elegance flowing from all corners of Aintree you can guarantee there will be a lot more to look at than just horse racing.

Day two has a smarter dress code and the seriousness of the racing seems to rise to match this. There are some classic races to bet on Ladies Day including the Topham Chase, named after Edward Topham, an early developer of the Grand National, the Melling Chase, feature race of day two and the Sefton Novices Hurdle, a grade one race over 3 miles and 110 yards.

Day Three 12th April 2025 – Grand National Day

Time Name Type Distance Winner
13:20 Handicap Hurdle Premier Handicap 3m 149y £42,203
*13:55 Mersey Novices Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f £56,270
*14:30 Freebooter Handicap Chase Premier Handicap 3m 210y £56,270
*15:05 Liverpool Stayers Hurdle Grade 1 3m 149y £140,419
*16:00 Randox Grand National Premier Handicap 4m 2f 74y
*17:00 Maghull Novices Chase Grade 1 1m 7f 176y £67,524
17:35 Standard Open Flat Race Grade 2 2m 209y £28,135

KEY: m – miles, f – furlongs, y – yards, * Live on ITV

aintree home of the grand national signThe big day and the big race. The Grand National race itself commands more money for a single betting event than any other sporting event in the world. Everyone wants a bet and everyone wants to watch. Over 70,000 people attend the course for one of the best days out of the year.

The whole world stops for ten minutes when the National goes off. From the guaranteed drama at the start to fallers, surprising outsiders and the run to the winning post it is easy to see why this is the most exhilarating horse race in the world.

Around 34 jockeys will line up to race around the famous course with daunting fences like Becher’s Brook, Canal Turn, Valentine’s and The Chair. The question is not how many horses will finish after 30 fences 4 miles 2 furlongs and 84 yards, the only question is who will win. Whether you’ve got £1 each way on the outsider or £1000 on the favourite the thrill of picking the winner of the Grand National is unparalleled.

For the jockeys, horses and owners winning guarantees legend status as well as a tidy sum of money. Prize money this year for day all three days is up to £3.05m, with £1 million alone for the main race (£500k first, £200k second, £100k third, £65k fourth, £40k fifth, £30k sixth, £20k seventh, £15k eighth, £10k ninth and £5k for tenth place).

Grand National Course and Famous Fences

Aintree Racecourse

grand national racecourse at aintreeThe Grand National is run over two laps each with 16 fences of which 14 are jumped twice. In 2013 the start was advanced forward 90 yards reducing the length of the race from 4 miles 880 yards to the now 4 miles 770 yards. The run in to the winning post is notoriously long at 449 yards (452m).

Originally the race was a cross country steeplechase. This meant the runners started on one edge of the track and then ran over countryside in the direction of the Liverpool to Leeds canal. The original obstacles were the actual hedgerows and gates that were part of the landscape.

anitree fence and sign

Markers were placed to show horses where to jump. One obstacle included a brook where rails were erected to jump. Once at the canal the horses ran along the edge back towards the race course. The horses then ran the enclosed course before starting a second lap.

Over the years this open country was incorporated into the official racecourse. On occasion you will hear people and commentators referring to parts of the track as the ‘the country’ referring to the track layout in the mid 1800’s. The course was not fully enclosed until after WWI.

Grand National Famous Fences

aintree fences

The fences at Aintree are hardly conventional with some of the most difficult and challenging hurdles in the world. To a horse approaching Becher’s it must look like running into a massive hedge row.

Find all of the key features to the famous 16 fences that make up the 30 obstacles below.

  • Fence 1 (17) – This high speed 4ft 6in (1.37m) fence saw 12 fallers in 1951.
  • Fence 2 (18) – A 4ft 7in (1.40m) meter jump original named ‘The Fan’ after a horse that refused to jump it in three separate years.
  • Fence 3 (19) – The first open ditch with another increase in high at 4ft 10in (1.47m) and a 6ft (1.82m) ditch on the take-off side.
  • Fence 4 (20) – Same size as the last fence this one is famous for the wrong reasons. Back in 2011 it became the first ever fence to be bypassed on lap 2 following a horse fatality first time around.
  • Fence 5 (21) – A simple, if you can describe a grand nationl fence as simple, 5ft (1.52m) obstacle. With fence 4 setting a precedent this fence was bypassed in 2012 for a jockey with a leg break to be treated by doctors.
  • Becher’s Brook 6 (22) – This fence is all about the drop, if a jockey doesn’t balance the nag by sitting back then there won’t be enough of a counterweight to get over the drop. The 5ft (1.52m) high fence with a landing around 6-10in (25cm) lower than the takeoff, the fence provides the first major test of horse and jockey. The name comes from Captain Martin Becher who fell from his horse in the inaugural Grand National. He took shelter in a brook near the fence whilst the rest of the horses went by. Becher’s was also bypassed in 2011 for the same reason as fence 4.
  • Foinavon 7 (23) – As mentioned earlier this is named after the 100/1 1967 winner Foinavon who avoided a pile up at the fence by lagging behind. It is 4ft 6in (1.37m) and is actually one of the shortest fences on the track.
  • Canal Turn 8 (24) – It is not the height of this fence (5ft (1.52m)) that poses a problem to riders but rather the immediate 90 degree turn on landing. Before the course was enclosed dismounted horses were known on occasion to go straight on into the Leeds Liverpool canal. The fence was bypassed in 2015 for a the first time ever due to a horse fatality.
  • Valentines 9 (25) – Named after a horse of the same name who reputedly jumped the fence backwards in 1840! The fence is 5ft (1.52m) high with a 5ft 6in (1.68m) brook.
  • Fence 10 (26) – Possibly the most nondescript fence on the course. It is 5ft (1.52m) high.
  • Fence 11 (27) – Just when the horses thought it might get easy they are faced with an open ditch 5ft (1.52m) high with a 6ft (1.83m) ditch on the take-off side.
  • Fence 12 (28) – Straight after a ditch, what do you need? Another ditch. This one is again 5ft high but this time it’s a landing side ditch 5ft 6in (1.68m) long.
  • Fence 13 (29) – Another plain fence in the same category as fence 10, 4ft 7in (1.40m).
  • Fence 14 (30) – This is the last fence on the last lap. In spite of it being a bit of an easier obstacle in the face of it, 4ft 6in (1.37m), many horses have fallen here exhausted from the previous 29.
  • The Chair 15 – It’s a pity for spectators that you can’t jump this fence twice but possibly not for the runners. This is a 5ft 2in (1.57m) high fence with a 6ft (1.83m) ditch on the takeoff side. The ditch is actually designed to slow the horses down before take off following the death of a jockey in 1862. The landing is actually 6inches (~25cm) higher than the take off in the opposite to Becher’s Brook.
  • Water Jump 16 – This is all about the spectacle as the horses jump over open water.
  • Run In – On the final lap the chair and the water jump are avoided and the horses embark on one of the longest run ins around at nearly 500 yards (452m). This isn’t actually a straight run but has a small bend in the first third.

History of the Aintree Grand National

history of the grand national - view of spectatorsThe steeplechase was first run in 1839 and has been run almost every year since, although with some notable exceptions. The race is run over 4 miles and 3.5 furlongs, this is 7,141km in new money. The race is run over 30 fences during two laps of the course and is the most valuable race in the world with a prize fund in excess of £1 million.

The founder of the Grand National was William Lynn. Lynn headed owned the Waterloo hotel and rented land in Aintree from the second earl of Sefton, William Molyneux. In 1829 he set out a course and built a stand in what would become the future Aintree racecourse.

Although history states the first Grand National race took place in 1839 there were in fact three previous races from 1836-39 that were called the Grand National up until the 1860’s. The contention arises from where the races were held with accounts stating these first races took place in Maghull not Aintree. More recent evidence has emerged that suggests these races actually did take place at Aintree but attempts to change the history books have been unsuccessful.

The first officially recognised Grand National took place in 1839. It was aided by three major events, firstly the St Albans Steeplechase that clashed with the National ended in 1838 and secondly the first railway line was built in Liverpool allowing spectators to travel to the race and thirdly an organizing committee was formed to better promote the race. A larger field, better press coverage, increases attendance and higher prize money all lead to the races dramatic increase in fame. The first race was won by Jem Mason on Lottery.

aintree horse about to win a race

In the first four years the National was a weight-for-age race but changed to a handicap in 1843 as Edward Topham took over the reins from Lynn. The Topham family later bought the course.

The National did not run at Aintree from 1916 to 1918 during the first world war. The course was taken over by the war office and an alternative race was took place at Gatwick racecourse (now Gatwick airport). This was known as the War National Steeplecahse.

In 1928 Tipperary Tim won one of the most famous Grand National races ridden by William Dutton. Before the race a friend jokes that he could only win if all the other horses fell – this is exactly what happened. In a field of 42 horses 41 fell and Tipperary Tim won with a price of 100/1.

During the second world war Aintree was again commissioned by the war office and although the race was run as normal in 1940 it was not held from 1941 to 1945.

The 1950’s saw the race dominated by Vincent O’Brien who trained three consecutive winners between 1953 and 1955. The 1956 race saw the Queen Mother’s horse, Devon Loch, leading after the final fence before inexplicably doing a half air jump and belly flopping to the ground. Losing the race the Queen mother took it in good humour proclaiming “that’s racing!”.

In a similar fashion to Tipperary Tim, the 1967 race saw the Foinavon win at 100/1 after a huge pile up at the 23rd fence. A loose horse, Popham Down, veered across the field taking out all of the race leaders, some horses even began running the wrong way back along the course. Foinavon was so far behind he was able to avoid the melee, steer round and win the race. The 23rd fence now carries the name ‘Foinavon Fence’.

aintree stands

Red Rum broke all of the records in the 1970’s to become the most respected, revered and famous steeplechase horse of all time. The horse bought form £6000 by Ginger McCain was suffering from a bone disorder that made him lame. Knowing that lame carthorses were often galloped in seawater he began riding Red Rum along the sands and this cured the problem. Red Rum won the Grand Nation three times, 1973, 1974 and 1977, and finished second in 1975 and 1976. In 1973 Red Rum broke the course record with a time of 9 minutes 2 seconds, a record he took from Golden Miller in 1934 and held on to for another 16 years. Red Rum is buried under the winning post at the Aintree course.

In the 1993 we had ‘the race that never was’ in one of the greatest disasters the Grand National has ever seen. With the horses under starters orders a jockey became tangled in the tape when it failed to raise up at the right time. The race was declared a false start but unfortunately 30 out of the 39 horses carried on with 7 completing the race. The race result was void and Esha Ness ridden by John White who won in the second fastest ever time never got any accolade.

In 1997 two bomb threats from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) meant the race was postponed twice and held on the Monday. Famously the people of Liverpool took in many race goers stranded at the event refusing the allow these threats to prevent the National going ahead. At the time newspapers ran the headline ‘We fight them on the Becher’s’ in reference to the famous fence at Aintree and Winston Churchill’s famous speech.

Ginger McCain, the trainer of Red Rum, returned to the National after 31 years in 2004. His horse, Amberleigh House came home first, equalling Fred Rimell’s record of training 4 Grand National winners. In 2009 the 100/1 outsider Mon Mome became the highest price horse to win the race in 42 years.  For more on outsiders see our article on how often do favourites win the grand national.

Recent History

woman placing a bet at aintreeTiger Roll became the greatest Grand National horse of the modern era when he won back-to-back races in 2018 and 2019.  The Irish bred, owned (by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary) and trained, by Gordon Elliot, was ridden to victory on both occasions by Davy Russel.  Running as the favourite in 2019 and winning with the shortest price, 4/1, of any horse since Hot Water exactly one hundred years earlier in 1919.

Many hoped he could win again in 2020 to match Red Rum as the greatest every horse at the worlds most famous steeplechase, however, these were dashed when the 2020 Grand National Festival became the first race meeting to be cancelled ever that wasn’t due to war.  The global Coronavirus pandemic meant the race had to be called off.  Tiger Roll was not entered into the 2021 National as its owners withdrew it due to the weight given by the handicapper, giving the horse no chance to make history by winning three in a row.

The lack of Tiger Roll in the 2021 race was a disappointment to many but fortunately that didn’t last long when Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey ever to win the race on the back of the Henry de Bromhead trained Minella Times.  This capped off an amazing season for the Irish woman, who also won the Champion Hurdle and top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival.  It is also nice that the 2021 race will be remembered for other reasons than just being held without spectators due to corona virus.

The 2022 event saw things go back to relative normality but the winner certainly wasn’t ‘normal’ with the first amateur winning the race since 1990 when Sam Waley-Cohen won on Noble Yeats at 50/1.  The following year saw a favourite win, which is fairly rare (only 3 in 20 races on average), as Corach Rambler won a first National for trainer Lucinda Russell and jockey Derek Fox at 8/1.  The race was delayed due to Animal Rising protesters trying to enter the course to stop the race.  The delay meant the parade was skipped and the start was rushed leading to a rather chaotic race.

For 2024 the decision was made to reduce the field from 40 down to 34 for safety reasons.  The start was also brought forward to 4pm to allow more time for the usual false starts as the race rarely gets underway on time.  Many feel this has diminished the random nature of the race that saw the favourite win two years in a row in 2023 and 2024, the first time since 1894.  Still at the same time 21 horses finished, which is the most since 1992.  Therefore the National may end up being a bit more predictable in future but if welfare is better and more horses are in the race at the end then maybe that is a good thing.

The National has had several sponsors over the years. This started with Seagram in 1984, Martell took over in 1992 with a £4 million deal, John Smith carried on the sponsorship in 2005 and from 2013 to 2016 the worlds greatest steeplechase was been sponsored by Crabbies.  From 2017 onwards the Grand National will be sponsored by Randox Health in a ten year deal.

Grand National Trivia & Unusual Stories

The Sovereigns Under Lord Sefton Stand

On February 7 1829, Lord Sefton, also known as William Philip Molyneux laid the first foundation stone, also placing a container of sovereigns inside the footings.

The said sovereigns remain under the Lord Sefton Stand still today.

The Grand Crashinal In 1951

In 1951 during a momentary lapse of judgement, which will likely have cost his career, Leslie Firth, let the field go when those on the outside, nearest to him, were no where near ready to start the race.

Unfortunately he also failed to signal for a false start. Many of the 36 horses were disadvantaged and were about to embark on possibly the worst races of their careers. Caught by surprise the jockeys on the outside went too fast in an attempt to recover any ground lost and, at the always tricky 1st fence, no less that twelve horses fell. Then later at the 7th (and 23rd) even more fell.

What had been a decent quality of entrants was swiftly reduced to a swarm of loose horses and disorientated jockeys and only 3 of the 36 horses crossing the finish line. There was widespread criticism from the press, that years race being dubbed the ‘Grand Crashional’.

An Unruly Shambles In 1849

If you thought the 1951 race was bad, 1849 tops it! The Grand National was fast becoming a highlight of the National Hunt calendar, but still at this point the race was unregulated, leaving it very rough and ready.

In 1849, jockeys were so enthusiastic to make ground, they over anticipated the flag fall by the starter, or what is probably more likely, they plain ignored it and decided to gallop away no matter who was in control. Though it has to be said that the crowd was reported to be going wild which meant the jockeys couldn’t hear any shouting. None the less, some horses went cantering off, whilst others were confused about what was supposed to be happening until a random person made a starting signal and the rest embarked on the race.

The race should have been disqualified but it was not. Those jockeys that went full speed before the flag was lowered probably should have received sanctions, but they didn’t. Of a field of 24, only 3 finished and the runner up, Capt G D’Arcy, riding The Knight Of Gwynne, tried to bribe Tommy Cunningham on the winning Peter Simple (Bay) during the ride up to the finish line. Capt G D’Arcy was banned from further Aintree fixtures.

Imagine these goings on happening in todays races!

The Story Of Eddie Dempsey In The Fog

The winter of 1946 had been nicknamed the Big Freeze which meant that the beginning of 1947 was the big thaw, with thick fog hanging over Aintree and the North West for months.

Despite the terrible conditions and hanging fog, the 1947 renewal went under way. This year the crowds would have seen very little action which meant that there was potential for shenanigans on the course.

It was alleged by D McCann, the jockey on Lough Conn (the horse that came 2nd) that Eddie Dempsey, the jockey on the 100/1 outsider Caughoo (the horse that won), hid with his horse by fence 12 in the fog to miss out a lap of the course! Years later McCann and Dempsey were reported to have had fisticuffs over this unproven matter and McCann was so convinced Dempsey must have been hiding in the fog he took him to court.

Beltrán Alfonso Osorio, 18th Duke of Alburquerque

Beltran Alfonso, a Spanish Aristocrat, was a hugely popular and eccentric figure in horse racing during the 1950s and 1960s and he will probably be remembered as the worst jockey in history.

He has a perilous catalogue of injuries from the 7 Grand National races he participated in, including: seven broken ribs, a large number of fractured vertebrae, a broken wrist and thigh, a major concussion, and he was once in a coma for two days. Apparently he woke up from his coma and told a nurse he will ride the national again.

In 1977 the race organisers decided enough was enough and Beltran had his license revoked, for his own safety!

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