The most famous horse race in the world. The Grand National at Aintree, Liverpool. The most spectacular of all steeplechases. Its reputation is enough to attract millions of race fans across the world to cheer home their horse. What time does the Grand National start? So here's that all-important time: 5:15 Aintree 8th April
The Grand National is a celebration of National Hunt racing with the bravest horses and jockeys. It isn't a race for the faint-hearted. A distance of 4 miles 514y, 30 fences, over two laps of a hard course. It is a race that has told some incredible stories.
It's a race where people have very differing ways of selecting their ''winning'' horse. Do any of these sound familiar?
- Bet on the favourite
- You like the colours
- It's your lucky number
- The name catches your eye
- Last year it ran well
- It's priced 100-1
- That trainer is best
- I'm betting on a female jockey to win for the first time ever
- Bet on the lucky grey horse
I wonder how many grey horses have won the Grand National?
Well, you may need to be very lucky because just three grey horses have won since its inauguration back in 1839.
- The Lamb 1868, 1871
- Nicholaus Silver 1961
- Neptunes Collonges 2012
The Lamb won twice in 1868, priced 9-1, while in 1871 he ran a very good time recording 9m 35.7s. The owner, Lord Poulett, must have put his money down as he returned 11-2.
Nicholaus Silver won in 1961, trained by Fred Rimell in the ownership of Charles Vaughan. Bobby Beasley rode this 28-1 shot to victory to win by five lengths. This was Fred Rimell's second winner of this great race with EBS who made a name for himself in 1956.
The most recent winner may still be in the mind of those who backed Neptunes Collonges in 2012. This son of Dom Alco was trained by Paul Nicholls, ridden by Daryl Jacob in the ownership of John Hales. Neptunes Collonges was eleven when winning at odds of 33-1. This National featured the closest ever finish with just a nose between him and runner-up Sunnyhillboy. This exceptional talent won the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2009. In his racing career, this gallant horse won £1.3m in total prize earnings.
So which grey horses are likely to make the start in this year's Grand National 2017?
Saphir Du Rheu, trained by Paul Nicholls, racing in the familiar silks of The Stewart Family. This eight-year-old gelding is a son of Al Namix and will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. At the time of writing, this grey is priced 20-1 with William Hill.
Another grey who may just sneak into the line-up is La Vaticane who is trained by David Pipe and priced 100-1. This mare is owned by Ms Maria Bukhtoyarova. She pulled up on her last start at Cheltenham when a 50-1 shot.
Could this be the year of the grey? Saphir Du Rheu is the most likely horse to fly the flag for all those who fancy a bet.