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Grand National Festival Guide

Scheduled to take place from Thursday the 8th until Saturday the 10th of April, the 2021 edition of The Grand National meeting will celebrate the 182nd year of The Grand National Steeple Chase’s existence, having inaugurated in 1839.

The Grand National Festival isn’t just the Grand National Steeple Chase itself, though, but 21 individual races unfolding dramatically over three days of intensely fought competitive action across Aintree’s three racecourses.

Over the course of the three days, 225,000 spectators descend on Aintree, Sefton, Merseyside to witness history in the making, with the venue’s full 75,000 capacity made full use of on Liverpool NHS Day, Ladies Day and Grand National Day.

The Grand National Festival is just around the corner, so let’s take a look at the breakdown of each individual day to get a true grasp of what we can expect from this magnificent occasion:

Liverpool NHS Day Guide – Day One

Day One of this year’s Grand National meeting will be known as The Liverpool NHS Day, commencing the festival on Thursday the 8th of April 2021.

Named in recognition, celebration and in honour of the National Health Service, The Liverpool NHS Day will feature a seven-race card, beginning at 13:45 and running through until the final race concludes the day at 17:15.

Here is the Liverpool NHS Day’s full schedule:

  • 13:45 – The Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 14:20 – The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 14:50 – The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 15:25 – The Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 16:05 – The Rose Paterson Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase (Class 2)
  • 16:40 – The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3)
  • 17:15 – The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2)

The highest value race of Liverpool NHS Day is The Betway Aintree Hurdle at 15:25, offering a quarter of a million pounds in prize money to the placing competitors, including over £140,000 to the winner alone.

Ladies Day Guide – Day Two

Day Two of this year’s Grand National meeting will be Aintree’s annual Ladies Day, sandwiched between Liverpool NHS Day and Grand National Day on Friday the 9th of April 2021.

Ladies Day during The Grand National meeting at Aintree is a celebration of the glamorous, fashionable side of horse racing. Ladies (and gents) dress to impress on Day Two of the meeting, sporting eccentric headwear and stylish dresses with hopes of winning the title of ‘the best-dressed racegoer’ which offers prizes worth £35,000.

Here is the full Ladies Day racing schedule:

  • 13:45 – The Orrell Park Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
  • 14:20 – The Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 14:50 – The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 15:25 – The Marsh Steeple Chase (Registered as the Melling) (Grade 1)
  • 16:05 – The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3)
  • 16:40 – The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 17:15 – The Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (cond’ and amat’) (Class 2)

The featured race with the grandest prize during Ladies Day is The Marsh Steeple Chase at 15:25, offering a purse of £250,000 to be shared proportionately between the teams of the first four placed competitiors, with around £140,000 assigned to the winner alone.

Grand National Day Guide – Day Three

The third and final day of the Grand National meeting is known as Grand National Day, offering the race the world stops to watch on Saturday the 10th of April 2021.

The adrenaline and excitement of the Grand National Festival culminate on Grand National Day with The Grand National Steeple Chase, which offers the highest prize of the entire National Hunt jump racing calendar.

There are other great races on this day, too, including a mixture of hurdles, steeplechases and a flat race, providing the ultimate climax to Aintree’s Grand National Festival. Here’s the full schedule for Day Three:

  • 13:45 – The Bridle Road Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
  • 14:25 – The Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 15:00 – The Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 15:40 – The Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle (Registered as the Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1)
  • 16:20 – The Betway Handicap Steeple Chase (Listed)
  • 17:15 – The Randox Health Grand National Steeple Chase (Grade 3)
  • 18:20 – The Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2)

Beginning over an hour after the main event, The Grade 2 Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race provides a fitting encore to conclude The Randox Grand National Festival at 18:20.

Previous Winners

After the abandonment of the 2020 edition of The Grand National Festival due to the global pandemic, we’ll have to go back two years to check out the most recent winners of each of the Grand National meeting’s championship races.

The Betway Aintree Hurdle 2019 Result

The last winner of The Betway Aintree Hurdle at The Grand National meeting was 15/2 third-favourite Supasundae, ridden by jockey Robbie Power and trained by Jessica Harrington.

French 5/6 race favourite Buveur D’Air finished a length and a quarter behind the leader in second-place, followed by 14/1 priced Ch’tibello in third and 25/1 outsider Summerville Boy in fourth.

The Marsh Steeple Chase 2019 Result

The winner of The Marsh Steeple Chase last time out at Aintree was 2/1 race favourite Min, ridden by jockey Ruby Walsh and trained by Willie Mullins.

5/2 third-favourite Politologue finished 20 lengths behind Min in second-place, followed by 9/4 second-favourite Waiting Patiently in third and 14/1 outsider Hell’s Kitchen in fourth.

The Grand National Steeple Chase 2019 Result

The 2019 Champion of The Grand National Steeple Chase was a popular 4/1 race favourite Tiger Roll, ridden by jockey Davy Russell and trained by Gordon Elliott.

66/1 outsider Magic Of Light finished 2 and three-quarter lengths behind the leader in second-place, followed by 8/1 hopeful Rathvinden in third and 25/1 Walk In The Mill in fourth.

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