Aintree Racecourse

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Aintree
Aintree logo.svg
Aintree Racecourse Logo
LocationSefton, Merseyside, England
Owned byJockey Club Racecourses
Date opened7 July 1829
Screened onRacing UK
Course typeNational Hunt
Notable racesGrand National
Official website
 
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Aintree
Aintree logo.svg
Aintree Racecourse Logo
LocationSefton, Merseyside, England
Owned byJockey Club Racecourses
Date opened7 July 1829
Screened onRacing UK
Course typeNational Hunt
Notable racesGrand National
Official website

Aintree Racecourse is a racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England close to the city of Liverpool. It was served by Aintree Racecourse railway station until the station closed in 1962; it is now served by Aintree Railway Station, which is situated outside the racecourse.

The racecourse is probably best known for annually holding the world-famous Grand National steeplechase.

The course[edit]

Traditional entrance
The racecourse

The course is home of the Grand National steeplechase, one of the most famous races in the world.[1] Prior to the event being held at Aintree, the race was run in the nearby district of Maghull. Steeplechasing at Aintree was introduced in 1839, though flat racing had taken place there for many years prior to this.[1] It is regarded as the most difficult of all courses to complete successfully, with 16 steeplechase fences including renowned obstacles The Chair, Foinavon, Valentine's Brook, Canal Turn and Becher's Brook. These are so infamous that even their names strike fear into the most professional of jockeys. All fences bar the water jump are covered with spruce, unlike at any other course in British National Hunt racing. Four other races take place over the National fences. These are the Topham Chase (formerly known as the John Hughes Trophy Chase) and the Fox Hunters' Chase at the Grand National meeting, and the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase and Becher Chase in the November meeting. Within the large National course there is also the smaller Mildmay course containing hurdles and fences. These fences are made of traditional National Hunt material. The National and Mildmay courses used to share the water jump, but the water jump is no longer used on the Mildmay course.

The Grand National[edit]

Main article: Grand National

The Grand National is run over 4½ miles (7.24 km), sometimes on soft ground, which makes the race all the more demanding on stamina and jumping. The race is considered among the most demanding steeplechases in the world. The lead has often changed hands during the 494-yard (452 m) run-in after the final fence. There are usually 40 horses taking part in the race but fewer than ten may in fact complete the course. In 1928, 42 horses started and only two finished the course.[2] The record for the most victories in the Grand National is held by Red Rum, who won three times in the 1970s, in addition to coming second twice.

Other events[edit]

Motor racing[edit]

The 3 mile Aintree motor racing circuit

Aintree has also been used as a venue for motor racing. The British Grand Prix was staged there on five occasions, in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962. In addition to the Grand Prix, 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 only driver to have competed in both horse and motor race is Alfonso de Portago, who competed at the Grand National in his early days as well as in a sportscar race. He was to compete at the 1957 British Grand Prix at Aintree, but he was killed in the Mille Miglia.

Earl of Derby Stand

Music[edit]

Michael Jackson concluded the European leg of his 1987-1989 Bad World Tour at the venue on 11 September 1988, to more than 125,000 people.

McFly performed for the Liverpool Summer Pops in 2005.

P!nk performed at the venue during her I'm Not Dead Tour on 16 July 2007.

Kaiser Chiefs and The Chemical Brothers performed in concert at Aintree Pavilion as part of Liverpool Music Week 2007.

Golf[edit]

The racecourse contains a 9-hole golf course and driving range within its boundaries. Golfers have the chance to see the famous track from a different perspective and famous features such as Becher's Brook are incorporated into the course. It is accessed from Melling Road, which bisects the racecourse. Because of this, the golf facilities are closed when the course is used for horse or motor racing.

In the news[edit]

On 8 April 2006 security officials began investigating a reported security breach at the Aintree Racecourse a day before the Grand National. According to initial reports, a newspaper journalist gained access to the horse box belonging to Hedgehunter, a former winner of the Grand National, and posed for a photograph.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b British Racing and Racecourses (ISBN 978-0-9501397-2-2) by Marion Rose Halpenny - Page 167
  2. ^ Ian Thomsen (3 April 1993). "The 150th Grand National: 40 Horses and a Great British Tradition". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 21 April 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "Aintree suffers security breach". BBC Sport. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°28′37″N 2°56′30″W / 53.47694°N 2.94167°W / 53.47694; -2.94167