The course is home of the Grand National steeplechase, one of the most famous races in the world.
Prior to the event being held at Aintree, the race was run in the nearby district of Maghull. Steeplechasing at Aintree was introduced in 1839, though flat racing had taken place there for many years prior to this.
It is regarded as the most difficult of all courses to successfully complete, with 16 steeplechase fences including renowned obstacles The Chair, Foinavon, Valentine's Brook, Canal Turn and Becher's Brook. These are so infamous that even their names strike fear into the most professional of jockeys.
All fences bar the water jump are covered with spruce unlike any other course in British National Hunt racing. Four other races take place over the National fences. These are the Topham Chase (formerly known as the John Hughes Trophy Chase) and the Fox Hunters' Chase at the Grand National meeting, and the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase and Becher Handicap Chase in the November meeting.
Within the large National course there is also the smaller Mildmay course containing hurdles and fences. These fences are made of traditional National Hunt material. The National and Mildmay courses used to share the water jump, but the Mildmay course no longer jumps the water.
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