British ponies

Grand National, a British treasure

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The Grand National is a cornerstone of the equestrian calendar. To think of it is to recall images of the English countryside of strawberries and cream, gin-based cocktails, landed aristocracy and the idly wealthy the Wilde loved writing about taking to the fields every spring for one of the most popular events of the equestrian arts anywhere in the world. Through film and TV and the general influence of American culture in the 20th century, people not from the UK might be more familiar with the Kentucky Derby held annually in Kentucky and is famed for the mint juleps that everyone drinks there. But the Grand National is a handicap steeplechase, nearly seven kilometres in length (4 miles and 514 yards), and has two laps and 30 jumps. With one million pounds on the table for wining, it is the most valuable jumping race in all of Europe. Now it…