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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone, I'm Gina.
The Grand National is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar in the UK. It is an annual steeplechase and the most prestigious horse race in the country.
In this lesson, you're going to learn about why the Grand National is so important.
The Grand National is held every year, but what was special and unique about the race in 1993?
We’ll show you the answer at the end of this video.
The Grand National is a horse race held annually at Aintree race course in Liverpool. It has been running since 1839. The course is four miles long and has 30 fences, making it one of the toughest horse races in the world and far tougher than more conventional courses. Some of the fences, such as Becher's Brook are almost as famous as the race itself.
The Grand National is the one day when even those that don't gamble, may place a bet. It is popular amongst the general public and it is the busiest day of the year for bookies. The Grand National is the most valuable horserace in Europe and in 2013 it had a prize fund of just under a million pounds. It is watched by an estimated 600 million people across 140 countries.
The race is, however, not without controversy. Due to the harsh demands of the course and the fences, the horse mortality rate for the Grand National is far higher than for other races. Every year there are many protests about the alleged cruelty of the race and the race organisers have responded to the criticism by modifying fences and moving the start line.
Some of the winners of the race have become famous in their own right. In the 1970s a horse called Red Rum won the race three times and his death in 1990 made the front page of the newspapers.
And now I'll give you the answer to the earlier quiz.
The Grand National is held every year, but what was special and unique about the race in 1993?
It was unique because it was the only time that the race has been declared null and void. The starting tape became tangled around the jockeys on two separate occasions and a false start was declared. Some jockeys that were able to start the race thought the officials trying to stop them were protesters and so carried on. The race was considered void and bets refunded.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Do you know of any other prestigious horse races?
Leave us a comment at EnglishClass101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson!