Grand National is arguably the best racing event in Britain, which is held every year at at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool. Many people who normally don’t watch or bet on horse racing show interest in the event.
This race is regarded as “the ultimate test of horse and rider” because they have to cover a grueling 4 miles and 2½ furlongs plus also jump 30 fences over two laps. Having prize money of £1 million, the Grand National lures some of the finest horses and jockeys from all over the United Kingdom.
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In the 1967 Grand National, one of the most dramatic things happened. Foinavon won the race despite being the slowest of all competitors. His victory became so famous that even a fence was named after him at Aintree.
Foinavon was a 100/1 shot before the beginning of the race. However, things took a dramatic turn when a horse named Popham veered wildly causing a huge pileup at the 23rd fence. The majority of the racehorses were affected by this melee and the race almost came to a standstill.
It looked like Foinavon was handed a golden opportunity by Divine intervention. He was far behind the other horses, so he easily avoided the chaos and raced ahead. This way, a horse who had no chance of winning in normal circumstances won the Grand National.
The 1956 Grand National is said to be one of the most-watched Grand Nationals of all time. E.S.B became the winner in that race but he is not the reason for the popularity of that Grand National. Rather it was Devon Loch and his failure which made this event hugely popular.
The Queen Mother’s Devon Loch competed brilliantly throughout the race. He established a massive lead over other race horses and was on the brink of achieving glory for himself and his jockey Dick Francis. That’s; when he jumped into the air and fell on his stomach allowing E.S.B to grab the victory easily.
Dick Francis couldn’t control his emotions and burst into tears after this. Everyone became greatly surprised by this unexpected behavior from such a great horse. People came up with different theories to explain this unusual behavior but none could say anything with certainty. This mystery hasn’t been solved even now.