How long is the run-in on the Grand National Course?
The Grand National Course consists of sixteen fences, fourteen of which are jumped twice, making thirty obstacles in all. However, even after four miles and thirty fences, the Grand National is still far from over, because runners and riders still face the physically and psychologically exhausting run-in. At 494 yards, or over a quarter-of-a-mile, long, the run-in on the Grand National Course is already the longest in Britain and made more challenging still by a a right-handed dog-leg – the infamous ‘Elbow’ – at halfway.
Indeed, it was at that point that jockey Richard Pitman made the ‘schoolboy mistake’ of reaching for his whip, causing his mount, Crisp, to veer left, thereby losing two or three lengths – or, in other words, further than the threequarters-of-a-length he was beaten by the eventual winner, Red Rum – in the 1973 Grand National. Of course, Crisp wasn’t the first, or the last, horse to suffer a reversal of fortune on the run-in in the Grand National. In 1954, Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, inexplicably collapsed yards from the winning post, with the race at his mercy, handing victory to his nearest pursuer, ESB.