Aintree Racecourse

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Aintree Racecourse Logo
Location Sefton, Merseyside, England
Owned by Jockey Club Racecourses
Date opened 7 July 1829
Screened on Racing UK
Course type National Hunt
Notable races Grand 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

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, 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

The Grand National race is run over 4 miles, 2 furlongs and 74 yards after being re-measured by the BHA in 2015. 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.

Notable races

Month DOW Race Name Type Grade Distance Age/Sex
April Thursday Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle Hurdle Grade 3 3m 110y 4yo +
April Thursday Betfred Bowl Chase Grade 1 3m 1f 5yo +
April Thursday Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices' Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 1f 4yo only
April Thursday Aintree Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f 4yo +
April Thursday Red Rum Handicap Chase Chase Grade 3 2m 5yo +
April Thursday Manifesto Novices' Chase Chase Grade 1 2m 4f 5yo +
April Friday Top Novices' Hurdle Hurdle Grade 2 2m 110y 4yo +
April Friday Topham Chase Chase Grade 3 2m 5f 110y 5yo +
April Friday Sefton Novices' Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 3m 110y 4yo +
April Friday Mildmay Novices' Chase Chase Grade 1 3m 1f 5yo +
April Friday Melling Chase Chase Grade 1 2m 4f 5yo +
April Saturday Maghull Novices' Chase Chase Grade 1 2m 5yo +
April Saturday Grand National Chase Grade 3 4m 3f 110y 7yo +
April Saturday Liverpool Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 3m 110y 4yo +
April Saturday Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race N H Flat Grade 2 2m 1f 4yo-6yo
April Saturday Mersey Novices' Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f 4yo +
October Saturday Old Roan Chase Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 4yo +
December Saturday Grand Sefton Steeplechase Chase Handicap 2m 5f 110y 6yo +
December Saturday Becher Chase Chase Grade 3 3m 2f 6yo +

Other events

Motor racing

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


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.


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

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]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Aintree suffers security breach". BBC Sport. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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