Gatwick Airport this week celebrates the centenary of hosting the 1917 Grand National. The UK’s most iconic race took place on the site of the current airport for three years due to its traditional home Aintree being taken over by the war office.
To mark the occasion, authentic jockey scales have been installed in the airport’s South Terminal, offering passengers the chance to weigh their luggage in the same way that riders will be weighed ahead of the big race this Saturday.
The traditional scales will allow passengers to solve the age-old problem of knowing how much their luggage weighs before checking-in, while adding a uniquely equine twist for racing fans.
Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:
“We wanted to mark the centenary of the Grand National being hosted at Gatwick Racecourse by bringing a little piece of the race day experience to the airport. The jockey weigh in is a big part of horse racing, like weighing your baggage is an important aspect of any journey through an airport so we have combined the two in celebration of this historic event.”
Renamed ‘The War Steeplechase’ while hosted at Gatwick, the Grand National was run over the same distance, four miles and 856 yards, as the course at Aintree. The winning horses and jockeys for the races were:
1916 - Vermouth ridden by J.Reardon
1917 - Ballymacad ridden by E.Driscoll
1918 - Poethlyn ridden by E.Piggott (Legendary jockey, Lester Piggott's, grandfather)
Gatwick Racecourse opened in 1891, but at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the land next to the course was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and Gatwick hosted its last race meeting in March, 1940.
About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves 228 destinations in 74 countries for 43 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the South East region, generating around 21,000 on-airport jobs and a further 10,000 jobs through related activities. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.
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