Grand National 2022
Photo: Jeff Griffith

The British Horse Racing season is upon us. With Cheltenham Festival successfully taking place in March, April’s Grand National is right around the corner. Held at Aintree Racecourse every year, the Grand National captures the imagination of the British public with three days of breathtaking racing action. The sheer number of memorable moments the event has produced over the years have helped build an exciting reputation for the event, which encourages millions to follow it live. As with anything popular these days, most fans follow the event via the internet, with sites like oddschecker offering expert advice for those interested in betting on the races. However, there are also a number of other options, including more traditional mediums like TV, newspapers, and radio.

Event overview

The Grand National started as a local race with the best amateur jockeys from Liverpool and the surrounding areas entering the race to test their skills. The first three editions were moderately successful, before increased publicity and improved transport links to the racecourse opened the race up to a wider field of competitors and a larger audience. As it continued to grow in prestige, it went from a singular race to a three-day event with multiple races on each day. Each of these days features several Grade 1 races with the world’s top horses and most talented jockeys competing for honors.

TV

As one of the UK’s most prestigious sporting spectacles, the Grand National has been protected as a category A designated event, which means it must be shown on one of the nation’s free-to-air TV channels. The first Grand National to be televised was the 1960 race that was shown on the BBC, where it was broadcast for over 50 years. After 4 years on Channel 4, from 2013 to 2016, ITV successfully bid for the rights in 2017, so the race has been shown on that network since then.

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This year ITV will be providing live coverage of at least five races on each day, including all of the Grade 1 races.

Internet

There are thousands of websites that cover horse racing, with many of them solely dedicated to the Grand National. Racing Post is one of the biggest media institutions in the sport thanks to their newspaper that has been published since 1986. They have successfully leveraged their audience for their website, which is now one of the most trusted sources on the topic of horse racing. Racing Post will provide live updates on every race at the Grand National.

The BBC is another great resource for the event. As well as live updates, their website also provides previews and pre-race information such as entries and weights, as well as post-race reactions.

The official website for the event is provided by The Jockey Club, where fans can also find the official site for Cheltenham Festival and many other events throughout the year.

Grand National Horse Racing
Photo: Philippe Oursel

Apps

The majority of trusted horse racing websites also have accompanying mobile phone apps, which are great for following the Grand National action when you’re on the go. They also allow fans to receive updates in the form of push notifications, which means they can keep up with proceedings without even opening the app.

Radio

Radio coverage is also an extremely popular way of following the Grand National, it has been broadcast on that medium since the 1927 edition. It was exclusively broadcast on BBC Radio until 2014 when Talksport won the rights. Since then, both stations have provided live commentary of the race.

Print

The Grand National is a classic British institution, which means it is enjoyed by many fans of older generations. A lot of these fans prefer more traditional methods of following horse racing events, like newspapers. Racing Post is by far the most popular print publication solely dedicated to the sport. They provide key information and such as entries results and form guides.

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Additionally, most of the UK’s most prominent newspapers like The Guardian, The Mirror, and The Sun also provide extensive coverage of the Grand National, with many even producing special pull-outs dedicated to the event.

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