The Grand National is the most famous steeplechase in the world and one of the reasons why the jumps race in the UK is so popular is because of how unique it is. At four miles and two furlongs (7200 metres), it is the longest distance contest under rules anywhere in the world. Here is a look at what it takes to train a horse for such stamina testing races such as the Grand National in the UK.

Gradually Increase Distance Of Races

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The best horse racing trainers in the world know exactly the right time to step their runners up in distance on the track. In the early stages of their careers, the horses will run at one of the minimum trips, so a flat horse would start at 1000 metres and a National Hunt horse would run over 3200 metres, as used in the Champion Hurdle which was won in 2018 by Buveur D’Air. As they grow older, their trainer will gradually increase the distance of their races. If they continue to show an improvement as they go up in trip, this will be a sign that they are likely to enjoy a race such as the Grand National. Not every horse is the same, so a sprinter can’t be turned into a long distance runner and therefore a trainer will play to the horse’s strength to give them the best chance of being successful on the track.

Keep The Horse Fresh Throughout The Season Ahead Of Long Distance Races

It is very hard for horses to run too often at distances like the 4m2f used in the Grand National. It is a trainer’s job to skilfully pick and choose how many races they have in the season ahead of their targeted race. Total Recall, who is the +1000 favourite in the 2018 Grand National betting, has had just the four runs so far in his campaign and will not been seen again now before Aintree. Irish Trainer Willie Mullins does an excellent job with his staying chasers and he will feel that is the ideal preparation for his runner to ensure he is 100% fit and ready to go next month.

 A Good Jockey Will Watch Sectionals During A Race

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The most experienced jockeys in horse racing will know that being aware of what speed to travel at during the different stages of a long distance race is very important. If a rider was to get this wrong, they could either be a long way behind their rivals in a race or they may have gone too quick, in which case they would then struggle to get home. It is very important that a trainer trusts the right jockey in these sorts of races, as often they can make the difference between winning and losing. Ruby Walsh won his second Grand National in 2005 on board Hedgehunter and is considered to be one of the best riders around today – so, he’s seen as a safe bet for trainers.

Ground Is Crucial In Long Distance Races

It is very important for the trainer to consider the ground when running their horse in a long distance race. If the ground is heavy, it can often take even more out of the horse. The majority of horses prefer the ground on the fast side, which helps them to complete the track.

If you are looking to catch the Grand National this year it takes place on April 14 and it will be the 171st edition of the race from Aintree Racecourse.