Grand National Purse Increased Again

Steeplechase in Great Britain first run in 1839.

Great Britain's Aintree Racecourse announced Dec. 29 that for the second consecutive year, the purse for the John Smith’s Grand National has increased by £100,000 to total £900,000 when the 4 1/2 mile steeplechase is contested April 4, 2009.

"The generous support of John Smith’s has made this possible and since their sponsorship started in 2005 the value of the John Smith’s Grand National has risen from £600,000 to £900,000," said Julian Thick, managing director at Aintree.

The Grand National was inaugurated in 1839 with Lottery the first winner of the marathon steeplechase. The race was abandoned from 1941-45 and a substitute race was run at Gatwick from 1915-18.

The most famous horse in Grand National history was the great Red Rum, who won the race  in 1973, 1974 and 1977 as well as finishing second on his other two starts.