The Grand National was based on which previous race?
The Grand National, or at least a precursor to it, known as the ‘Grand Liverpool Steeplechase’, was founded by William Lynn, landlord of the Waterloo Inn in Liverpool, at Aintree Racecourse in 1836. Lynn was already a well-known sports promoter and had been staging race meetings, on the Flat, at Aintree since 1829. However, the inspiration for what would become the most famous steeplechase in the world did not come ‘out of the blue’ but, rather, from a pre-existing race, known as the ‘Great St. Albans Steeplechase’.
Inaugurated by another hotelier, Thomas Coleman of the Turf Hotel in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1830, the Great St. Albans Steeplechase was originally run in Bedfordshire, from Harlington to Wrest Park, near Silsoe, and back again, over a total distance of approximately four miles. The first race of its kind to be staged in England, the Great St. Albans Steeplechase proved a huge success, so much so that, by 1834, it was a major event, attracting runners from all over the country. Of course, it also attracted the attention of Lynn, who devised a similar race of his own, to start and finish near the grandstands at Aintree; the rest, as they say, is history.