What, and where, is the Melling Road?
Ever since the Grand National was first broadcast on television, in 1960, the Melling Road, along with the ‘named’ fences, such as Becher’s Brook and the Canal Turn, has crept into the public psyche as part of the familiar Aintree infrastructure. The National Course crosses the Melling Road at two points.
The first is on the approach to the first, and seventeenth, fence, while the second is after the twelfth, and twenty-eighth, fence. The second, near the Anchor Bridge, marks the point where the runners rejoin the ‘racecourse proper’ and, on the second circuit, where the race really begins in earnest. Indeed, back in the days when the Grand National was televised on BBC, it was the point at which John Hanmer handed commentary ‘over to Peter O’Sullevan’, who traditionally called home the winner.
Obviously, the Melling Road is best known for its association with the Grand National, but is a bona fide, mile-long thoroughfare through the village of Aintree. On National Day, the road is covered with Fibresand to allow the horses to cross safely.