Aintree Racecourse


Aintree Racecourse

Infobox UK Racecourse
Name = Aintree


Caption = Aintree Racecourse Logo
Website = http://www.aintree.co.uk
Location = Aintree, Merseyside, England
Owner = Jockey Club Racecourses
Opened = July 7, 1829
CourseType = National Hunt
Channel = Racing UK
NotableRaces = Grand National
Next = Ascot

Aintree Racecourse is a racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England.

It was served by Aintree Racecourse railway station until it closed in the 1960s.

The course

The course is home to the world-renowned Grand National steeplechase. Prior to the event being held at Aintree, the race was run in the nearby district of Maghull. It is regarded as one of the most difficult of all courses to successfully complete, with 16 steeplechase fences including The Chair, 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 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 Handicap 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 only fence common to the National and Mildmay courses is the water jump.

The Grand National

The Grand National is run over four and a half miles (7.24 km), sometimes on soft ground, which makes the race all the more demanding on stamina and jumping. The race is one of the most demanding steeplechases in the world. The lead has often changed hands during the convert|494|yd|m|0|sing=on run-in after the final fence. There are usually 40 horses taking part in the race but fewer than 10 may in fact complete the course. In 1928 42 horses started and only two finished the course. cite web
title = The 150th Grand National: 40 Horses and a Great British Tradition
publisher = International Herald Tribune
date = 1993-04-03
author = Ian Thomsen
url = http://www.iht.com/articles/1993/04/03/nat_.php
accessdate = 2007-04-22
] The record for the most victories in the Grand National is held by Red Rum, who won three times in the 1970s.

Other events

Motor racing

Aintree has also been used as a venue for motor racing. Built in 1954 as the "Goodwood of the North", hence the fact the two venues had so many things in common. 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. Aintree was the location for the famous race in 1955 in which Stirling Moss won his first British Grand Prix, driving a Mercedes. Two years later, he and Tony Brooks (sharing the Vanwall) became the first British drivers to win both the British Grand Prix and a round of the Formula 1 World Championship, whilst driving a British car, a Vanwall. The 1957 Grand Prix also took the title of Grand Prix de Europe and was the premier Formula 1 event of the season, attracting 150 000 spectators. The full Grand Prix circuit was last raced on in 1964, but part of it (the convert|1.64|mi|km|2 Club Circuit) is still open and was used for racing until the early 1980s, having been maintained and operated by the Aintree Circuit Club [http://www.aintree.org.uk] since the mid 1960's. A limited amount of motor sport continues today in the form of car sprints, track days and motorcycle racing, the car events established by the Aintree Circuit Club. A Festival of Historic Motorsport was held in November 2004 and the Circuit Club are now negotiating with the Aintree Management to run another Festival in late 2007 to commemorate the 50th Anniversaries of the British successes of the '55 and '57 Grand Prix held at AIntree.

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 only for that not to happen as he was killed in the Mille Miglia.

Music

Michael Jackson performed in concert to 125,000 fans on September 11, 1988, as part of his Bad Tour.

Kaiser Chiefs and The Chemical Brothers recently performed in concert at Aintree Pavilion as part of Liverpool Music Week 2007.

Golf

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 [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4890414.stm 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.

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.aintree.co.uk Official site]
* [http://www.aintree.org.uk Official Motorsport Site-New Updates]
* [http://www.worldstadia.com/stadium/england/aintree_racecourse/1223.php Aintree - Description and Image Gallery]
* [http://www.attheraces.com/course.asp?CID=111 Course guide on At The Races]
* [http://www.aintree-grand-national.net Aintree Grand National site]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Aintree,+England&ie=UTF8&z=15&ll=53.475992,-2.940302&spn=0.012056,0.043259&t=k&om=1 Satellite picture by Google Maps]


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