The ‘Going’ is the term used to describe the condition of the ground at any racecourse on a race day. The Going (course conditions) are officially described as: ‘Firm’ ‘Good’ ‘Good to Soft’ ‘Good to Firm’ ‘Soft’ or ‘Heavy’.
On the day of the Grand National the ‘Going’ can play a massive part in the outcome of the race. Certain horses prefer different types of ground, firm conditions suit those faster horses in the race and soft or heavy ground suits horses with bags of stamina.
The Going not only affects the speed of the runners but also the jumping. Firm ground can lead to a cavalry charge up to the first fence with the risk of fallers greatly increased. Heavy ground can make the race even more unpredictable than normal.
On 28 occasions the National has been run on ‘Heavy’ ground, only an average of 8 horses finished the course! If the going is heavy you are more likely to see a long shot winner than you are on ‘good’ or ‘soft’ ground. Ben Nevis the 40-1 shot won on heavy ground in 1980 and in 2001 Red Marauder romped home at 33-1 on similar going.