Which horse has won the Grand National by the widest margin?

Which horse has won the Grand National by the widest margin? Verifying exactly which horse has won the Grand National by the widest margin is not as a straightforward as it might appear. The ‘length’ has been the standard measure of winning distances since time immemorial but, in modern horse racing, distances are determined by reference to a computerised lengths-per-second (LPS) table, which takes into account the prevailing going and other variables. Nowadays, racecourse judges can record meaningful distances up to, and including, 200 lengths.

However, until just over a decade ago, any distance beyond 30 lengths was simply recorded as ‘a distance’. As far as the Grand National is concerned, six horses – Cloister (1893), Covertcoat (1913), Shaun Splash (1921), Tipperary Tim (1928), Mr What (1958) and Red Marauder (2001) – are credited with having won by a distance. Several reputable sources state that Cloister, who was also the first horse to defy 12st 7lb in the Grand National, won by 40 lengths and therefore holds the record for the widest margin win in history. However, none of them reveal how the figure of 40 lengths was arrived at.

Certainly, the most attritional renewal of the Grand National in recent times occurred in 2001. On nigh on bottomless ground, Red Marauder beat Smarty – who was the only other horse to complete the National Course unscathed – by a distance, with a further distance back to the remounted pair Blowing Wind and Papillon, who were also separated by a distance.

Which fences are jumped just once during the Grand National?

Which fences are jumped just once during the Grand National? The Grand National Course at Aintree consists of 16 fences, 14 of which are jumped twice during the Grand National, making a total of 30 fences in all. On the second circuit of the Grand National, runners bypass the penultimate and final fence on the first circuit and set off, instead, up the infamously long, 494-yard run-in, past the ‘Elbow’ and on, for another furlong or so, to the finish line.

Coincidentally, the two fences that are omitted on the second circuit are the tallest and shortest obstacles on the Grand National course. Indeed, the first of them, ‘The Chair’, is not only the tallest, but also the broadest. The upright portion of The Chair stands 5’3″ high, but the fence is preceded by an open ditch, 6′ wide and 2’6″ deep, which increases the overall span of the obstacle to 9′. Not only that, but to add to the challenge, the landing side of The Chair is 6″ higher than the take-off side.

By contrast, the Water Jump – which stands on the site of what was, at one time, a stone wall – stands just 2’9″ high. However, the fence is succeeded by an expanse of water, 8’10” wide and 6″ deep, which means that the obstacle spans over 15′ from one end to the other. Of course, it is possible for a horse to land with any number of feet in the water.

Which current trainer has won the Grand National most often?

Which current trainer has won the Grand National most often? The record for training the most Grand National winners is currently held, jointly, by George Dockeray, Fred Rimmell and Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain, who all saddled four winners apiece. However, the current trainer who has won the Grand National most often is Gordon Elliott, who has, so far, saddled three winners.

Indeed, Elliott also holds the record for the youngest trainer to saddle a Grand National winner. He was just 29 – and, remarkably, yet to saddle a winner in his native Ireland – when he sent out Silver Birch to win the Aintree showpiece in 2007, just months after taking out a training licence. Elliott had to wait a few years for his next Grand National winner, but saddled winners two and three in rapid succession, courtesy of Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019.

Of course, in recent months, Elliott has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. In March, 2021, he was found guilty of bring racing into disrepute, had his training licence suspended for six months and was fined €15,000 after a photograph of him sitting astride a dead horse went viral. To his credit, he accepted his punishment without appealing, saying, ‘I am paying a very heavy price for my error, but I have no complaints.’

What’s the average number of finishers in the Grand National?

What's the average number of finishers in the Grand National? In the history of the Grand National, the lowest number of finishers, just two, was recorded in 1928, when 100/1 outsider Tipperary Tim beat the remounted Billy Barton by a distance. By contrast, the highest number of finishers, 23, was recorded in 1984, when a safety limit of 40 runners was imposed for the first time.

However, it is worth noting that the ‘modern’ Grand National has undergone several significant changes, in the name of safety, some of which may have influenced the number of finishers from year to year. The fences have been modified, the distance of the race has been reduced by half a furlong and the Grand National Course is now routinely watered to create going no faster than ‘good to soft’. Thus, any meaningful average for the number of finishers should reflect the major changes, the last of which took place in 2013.

Since then the number of finishers has been 17, 18, 19, 16, 19, 12, 19 and 15 respectively, giving an average number of 17 or thereabouts. The 2018 renewal of the Grand National, which produced the lowest number of finishers in recent history, was subject to two late withdrawals, reducing the field to 38 runners, rather than the usual 40. It was also run on heavy going, producing an attritional contest in which 12 runners were pulled up at various points on the second circuit, most of them between the fourth-last fence and the finish.

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