Aintree: The History of the Racecourse

There have been many accounts of the Grand National, but this book, Aintree: The History of the Racecourse, breaks entirely new ground. It tells the story of the iconic racecourse from its early days as a flat racing venue, through William Lynn’s inspired inauguration of the first Liverpool Grand Steeple-Chase in 1836, the redesign of fences in the 1880s, and subsequently the impact of wartime occupations, followed by dramatic postwar decline to the more recent and welcome renaissance as a three-day festival of jumping.

“The racing book of the year” John Randall, Racing Post


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Each year, for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon in April, Aintree Racecourse becomes the focus of the sporting world and the stage of the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National. More than 70,000 spectators at the course along with a global live broadcast audience of millions thrill to the spectacle of 40 horses and their riders racing over the world’s most famous steeplechase course. Aintree reveals previously unexplored aspects of the racecourse’s colourful history: its spectators, buildings, animal welfare issues, and some unexpected, remarkable stories such as the early history of women’s football and development of powered flight. After years of dedicated research, John Pinfold, a leading historian of the Grand National, exposes some of Aintree’s tales as myths, while adding many a new one to the rich tapestry of the annals. Aintree: The History of the Racecourse is lavishly illustrated with numerous pictures never before reproduced. The author draws on previously untapped sources, including the Topham family archives, to weave a fascinating story that spans three centuries. This highly readable book is sure to appeal to both the horse racing enthusiast and the general reader.

Additional information

Dimensions 21.8 × 21 cm



March 2016

6 reviews for Aintree: The History of the Racecourse

  1. Turf Times

    “In short it is the only book that you need on this subject on your shelf.”
    Turf Times

  2. Racing Post

    “The racing book of the year”
    John Randall, Racing Post

  3. The Blackpool Gazette

    “A great racecourse deserves a great book … And John Pinfold’s Aintree: The History of the Racecourse falls every bit into that category. […] There is a fund of fabulous stories, all of them studiously researched, augmented by amazing illustrations, some of them rarely seen before.”
    Steve Simpson, The Blackpool Gazette

  4. Amazon

    Amazon reviews:

    “A magnificent work”

    “This book is a must for any serious Turf Historian or anyone with an interest on the subject. Scholarly written and invitingly presented. This is a great work all round.”

    “Well researched, engagingly written and beautifully illustrated, the book gives a previously undocumented picture of the history of Aintree Racecourse. I cannot recommend it highly enough and urge anybody, racing fan or not, to read this fantastic and authoritative work. It is brilliant!”

  5. Fred Forrest

    “As one who has lived on the edge of the racecourse for 35 years and thought he knew much of its history, reading this book has certainly been an eye-opener.” Fred Forrest, Liverpool History Society

  6. The Spectator

    “John Pinfold’s detailed and well-illustrated work will surely become the book of reference on Grand National history.” Robin Oakley, The Spectator

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