Grand National 1836 – 1839

The true start date for the Grand National Race is open to debate, while some believe that the race was first run in 1836 and won by The Duke who also won the following year in 1837 and the 1838 race being won by Sir William, many historians claim these 3 races were run at Maghull and not Aintree.

Whilst there is some evidence to show that these races were actually run at Aintree, the official view is that the 1839 race was the first Grand National.

So what made the Grand National into the race that it is?, several sources point to 3 main catalysts for creating what many describe as the Greatest Race on Earth.

The first was the abandonment of the Great St Albans Chase, a great steeplechase which clashed with Aintree, secondly the arrival of the railway made access to the course possible for everyone and probably the most important event was the forming of the Race committee to organise the race.

With these three factors in place the 1839 race was a well publicised event which led to better quality horses entering and much larger crowds attending. The race was won by the 5/1 favourite, Lottery, who was ridden by Jem Mason, trained by George Dockeray and owned by John Elmore.