Nicholas Wrigley Chairman Aintree Racecourse

Nicholas Wrigley succeeded the late Rose Paterson as Chairman of Aintree Racecourse. Nicholas has a wealth of experience of the racing industry and is currently Chairman of investment bank N M Rothschild & Sons Limited. He was the Senior Steward (Chairman) of The Jockey Club – one of the leading organisations in British Racing, which runs Aintree Racecourse – between 2009 and 2014, having been appointed as a Jockey Club Member in 1994. Since 2019, he has been Chairman of The National Stud in Newmarket, which is also owned by The Jockey Club. Nicholas has been on the York Race Committee since 1992, serving as Chairman from 2005 to 2011. He is also a Director of Pontefract Racecourse. He is also an active racehorse owner and breeder with involvement in both Flat and Jump Racing.

Aintree Racecourse

Aintree is proud to be part of The Jockey Club. Because of our unique experience and heritage and the strength of the Jockey Club Racecourses group today, we are able to successfully deliver competitive and best-of-class horse racing; maximising profit and re-investing in our future to ensure the long-term and sustainable success of our business. Jockey Club racecourses deliver an exciting and passionate experience to every customer that is ‘close to the action’ and great value for money. Together we are committed to developing and empowering our people through inspirational leadership and working as a team to drive innovation and celebrate success.

In February 1839, Lottery became the first winner of the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, the race that would become known as the Grand National. Horses had to jump a stone wall, cross a stretch of ploughed land and finish over two hurdles. Mr Edward William Topham, a respected handicapper, was responsible for turning the Grand National into a handicap in 1843 after it had been a weight-for-age race for the first four years. The Topham family owned substantial tracts of land around Aintree and in 1949 they bought the course outright from Lord Sefton, from whom the land had previously been leased since the racecourse’s opening in 1829.

Throughout the year many dreams were shuttered and legends created. It was over 40 years ago now that Red Rum recorded the first of the three victories in the Grand National that earned him pride of place in the record books forever. He still remains the only horse to have won the Grand National three times and, as that statistic suggests, the great horse was a phenomenon. The current course, which stages races over conventional fences and hurdles, opened in 1839. A difficult period for Aintree in the post-war years led to a sale to a property developer and concerns about the future of the Grand National. Bookmaker Ladbrokes stepped in to manage the Grand National until 1984, when Seagram Distillers became sponsors. They provided the solid foundation on which Aintree’s revival was built. Today Aintree is owned and managed by Jockey Club Racecourses, one of 14 operated by The Jockey Club subsidiary.

The 2014 Grand National boasted a seven-figure prize fund for the first time, which was replicated in the subsequent years. The Grand National is completely unscripted and totally captivating, steeped in a history of unpredictable winners and fabulous stories. The next chapter is ready to be written.

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