The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km) with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps.
It is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1 million in 2017. An event that is prominent in British culture, the race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.
The course over which the race is run features much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks. Many of these, particularly Becher's Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn, have become famous in their own right and, combined with the distance of the event, create what has been called "the ultimate test of horse and rider".
The Grand National has been broadcast live on free-to-air terrestrial television in the United Kingdom since 1960. From then until 2012 it was broadcast by the BBC. Between 2013 and 2016 it was shown by Channel 4; the UK broadcasting rights transferred to ITV from 2017.
An estimated 500 to 600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries. It has also been broadcast on radio since 1927; BBC Radio held exclusive rights until 2013, however, Talksport also now holds radio commentary rights.
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