Every year the Grand National produces very different stories from jockeys and horses alike; uplifting scenes from a victor and heartbreak when a mere inch divides the loser from the winner at the end of nearly four-and-a-half miles and 30 challenging fences. The race has evolved over the years but there is one constant: luck, or the lack of it. How fitting, then, that in 1839 the first winner was named Lottery. Back then, huge crowds rode to Aintree by horseback, in carriages, carts or on foot. Hotels were so full that some slept four guests to a bed. Today the Grand National is probably the world’s most famous horse race, with a global television audience of some 600 million in 140 countries. Anne Holland’s richly informed book focuses on the race’s various record-breakers, rather than being a purely chronological history.