The Grand National is a world famous National Hunt horse race which is held at Aintree in the United Kingdom. It is a handicap chase run over a distance of about 4 miles and 856 yards (approximately 7¼ km), and during its running there are thirty fences to be jumped. It is presently scheduled to take place each year on a Saturday afternoon in early April.
It is the most valuable National Hunt event in Great Britain, and in 2009 it offered a total prize fund of £900,000. The race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. It is also one of the most controversial, due to the injuries and fatalities suffered by participating horses. This makes it a target for animal rights groups, which have campaigned to have it banned. In one hundred and sixty-two runnings of the race there have been eighty officially recorded equine fatalities, four of which came in one year, 1954.