In all of horse racing The Grand National is the ultimate challenge.
To take part in it at all requires extraordinary dedication and bravery. This programme is about what it takes - to win it. Drawing on the testimony of jockeys, and analysis of the anatomy of the horses, presenter Mark Evans gets to grips with the race. His aim: to learn what qualities separate the winner from the also rans.
He looks at the race in forensic detail. First the adrenaline pumping start where forty horses line up ready to charge , then the immense power needed to launch at the near six-foot-high fences, then the precise combination of human balance and equine skill needed to land safely, and finally the heady mix of power, will and endurance that decides the final sprint. It's a journey from the race's origins in the muddy chaos of Irish cross-country drag hunting, through to laboratories where new research is unlocking the biological basis of success. With demonstrations including horses leaping cars, to new film techniques that take you inside the race itself, and trainers secrets of creating winners. Through Mark's journey we get an unprecedented insight into the sport - the people and horses - whose goal is to conquer four and half miles and thirty fences and to satisfy what for many is a lifetime's obsession.
Prod co: Oxford Scientific Films