In the thrilling spectacle of the Grand National steeplechase, the maximum number of horses permitted to participate stood until recently at 40. This threshold was established in 1993, following a momentous race where a record-breaking 66 runners took their place on the starting line, etching their names into the race’s history books. The decision to impose this limit was motivated by a sincere commitment to prioritise safety, as the Grand National has been marred by unfortunate fatalities throughout its legacy. To further improve safety, in October 2023 the number was again cut to 36. It’s still a significantly sized field though, allowing for those taking advantage of free bets and the like to win big.
Undoubtedly, the Grand National demands a supreme level of readiness and athleticism from its equine contenders. Spanning an arduous distance of 4 miles and 2½ furlongs (equivalent to a staggering 6.907 kilometres), the race presents a formidable challenge for both horse and rider alike and is a nationwide betting opportunity for punters to get one over on bookmakers. Over the course of two captivating laps, the courageous horses must navigate a formidable array of 30 fences, renowned as some of the most formidable obstacles in the world of steeplechase. For those equine athletes not adequately prepared for this formidable test, the risks lurking within the racecourse can prove treacherous.
The introduction of the cap on the number of participants has sparked spirited debates, with proponents of an open field arguing that it curtails opportunities for horses to partake in this momentous event. However, the paramount concern remains the safety and welfare of these majestic creatures. By implementing this limitation, the race organisers have successfully curbed the incidence of fatalities, reinforcing their unwavering commitment to preserving the physical well-being of the equine competitors.
The Grand National, a captivating blend of spectacle and athleticism, continues to enthral audiences around the world. Through conscientious measures aimed at enhancing safety, this renowned steeplechase strives to ensure that the majesty of the race endures while minimising the inherent risks associated with its unforgiving nature. If there’s one race the nations eyes and money are on it’s the Grand National and so these efforts make sense. For those who can’t wait for the next National for a flutter, there are many sites offering Free Horse Racing Tips For Today, as way of guiding punters to winning selections.
The Elite Hurdle is a Grade 2 hurdle run over 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 50 yards at Wincanton in early November. Currently sponsored by Unibet, the race was inaugurated, on the Old Course at Cheltenham, in 1992 and was originally run over a distance of 2 miles and 87 yards. The inaugural running featured just four runners, but the winner, Morley Street, had won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the previous year and the second, Granville Again, would do so the following year. No race was staged in 1993, but the Elite Hurdle was resurrected at Wincantion the following year, at which point it was shortened to its current yardage.
Reigning champion trainer Paul Nicholls has saddled eight winners of the Elite Hurdle – namely Azertyuiop (2001), Santenay (2002), Perouse (2004), Celestial Halo (2009 & 2011), Zarkandar (2012), Irving (2015) and Knappers Hill (2022) – and is the leading trainer in the history of the race. However, it is worth noting that all bar one of his winners, Knappers Hill, came during the period, between 1998 and 2017, when the Elite Hurdle was run as a limited handicap, rather than a weight-for-age conditions race. Evergreen 11-year-old Sceau Royal, trained by Alan King, has run in the last six renewals of the Elite Hurdle, winning three times, in 2016, 2020 and 2021, and is the most successful horse in the history of the race.
Other notable winners down the years include Well Chief (2003), who won the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004 and finished second to Moscow Flyer in the Queen Mother Champion Chase the following season. As far as future winners of the Elite Hurdle are concerned, recent trends suggest that the horses to focus on are those officially rated 146 or higher, who have run at least six times over hurdles, and won at least three times, including at least once at Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3 level.
Lucky Day at the Races by Pragmatic Play is a thrilling online slot game that is based on horse racing. With 5 reels and 20 paylines, this game is available on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Players can place their bets ranging from 0.20 to 100.00 per spin, and the game features a Play the Ponies Bonus feature where players can win up to 7500 coins. Additionally, the Free Spins feature offers a staggering 60 Free Spins, making it a must-play for all horse racing enthusiasts.
The game’s Wild symbol is represented by the Trophy and can replace all other symbols except for the Scatter and Bonus symbols. Players can win a massive payout of 10000 coins by landing 5 Wilds on a payline. The Play the Ponies Bonus feature gets triggered by landing 3 or more of the horse and jockey symbols. In this feature, players must pick a horse, and their cash prize will be based on where their chosen horse finishes.
The rewards on offer for the Ponies Bonus feature depend on the number of bonus symbols activated. Players can win 75-375 coins for 3 bonus symbols, 375-1875 coins for 4 bonus symbols, and 1500-7500 coins for 5 bonus symbols.
The Free Spins feature gets triggered when players land 3 Lady symbols with binoculars anywhere on the reels. Players then receive 7 Free Spins. Land 4 Scatters, and you receive 15 Free Spins, with a maximum of 30 Free Spins available. If players activate the Ponies Bonus feature during the Free Spins, they can re-trigger up to 60 Free Spins.
Lucky Day at the Races by Pragmatic Play is an entertaining slot game that immerses players in the world of horse racing. The game’s bonus features, including the Play the Ponies Bonus and Free Spins feature, offer exciting opportunities to win big. Overall, Lucky Day at the Races is a must-play for all slot enthusiasts who enjoy horse racing themes.