The Grand National, the most highly anticipated race on the British calendar, is back. The world’s most famous steeplechase features 40 runners tackling the daunting obstacles of Aintree’s 30 Grand National fences over a distance of four miles and two and a half furlongs.
It is estimated that Aintree’s three-day Grand National festival is watched by over 500 million people in 140 countries each year, and the 2023 edition will be no different.
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s race.
When is the 2023 Grand National?
The Grand National is the world’s most famous steeplechase and the culmination of Aintree’s three-day Grand National Festival which runs from Thursday 13 April to Saturday 15 April this year. The main event, the Grand National itself, is on Saturday afternoon. .
When does the race begin?
The runners go to the post at 5.15pm, the traditional tea time slot. The National itself is the sixth of seven races at Aintree that day. At just under four and a half miles, it is easily the longest race of the entire three-day gathering.
Where is the 2023 Grand National?
The meeting will take place at Aintree Racecourse, six miles outside Liverpool. Aintree has hosted the race since the very first edition, in 1839.
How can I watch the race? What TV channel is it on?
The festival usually welcomes more than 150,000 racing fans. Live television broadcasts are on ITV and Racing TV. You can also bookmark this page and return later today to follow the race via our dedicated live blog.
How does the handicap system work?
As a handicap race, the Grand National provides an opportunity for slightly less developed horses to compete on a more level playing field. The handicap formula, as determined by the British Horseracing Authority, means that the lower-rated horses carry a few kilograms less weight than the higher-rated contenders.
The bare minimum a horse may carry is 10e (including the jockey). The horse with the highest weight carries 11th 10 oz, while the rest of the handicap weights are calculated based on this highest weight. In 2015, Many Clouds won with 11st 9oz, the heaviest handicap in recent memory. Last year’s winner, Noble Yeats, wore 10st 10oz. The last horse to win at the top weight was Red Rum in 1973, when the top handicap was set at 12th.
What is the weather forecast?
So far away the weather is impossible to predict accurately. But given the mid-April date of the race, it’s a fair bet that the weather in the North West of England will be changeable. Last year, track officials chose to water the track the night before the race after a brief dry spell. Amidst light, scattered showers, the race itself was run in fine overhead conditions, with the course judged good to mild.
Are Grand National tickets still available?
Tickets for some parts of Aintree on Saturday are already sold out, but tickets are still available from the second week of January ranging in price from £40 for a child’s ticket in the ‘Festival Zone’ (£80 for adults) to £178 on the roof of the Queen Mother. Hospitality tickets are also available, ranging in price from £405 to £1,095. Parking is an additional £30.00. All tickets are available on the racecourse’s official website: www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
Which horses will compete in the 2023 Grand National?
The line-up of 40 participants has not yet been confirmed. We will publish the longlist of potential entrants, which is usually announced in mid-February, and the official 40 entries, plus our sweepstakes kit, when these details are confirmed closer to the race.
How are horses selected for the Grand National?
Only a certain number of horses meet the criteria to race at the Grand National. Among the qualifications they must:
- have an Official Rating (OR) of 125 or more
- be 7 years or older
- have completed three or more steeplechases
- have completed one steeplechase in the current season
- have finished between 1st and 4th in a steeplechase over 2 miles 7½ furlongs or more
What’s the latest Grand National news?
The most important news so far is the abolition of the reserve system, which had been in place since 2000. Under this system, a maximum of four horses could be placed on the starting list for the race if competitors dropped the original list of 40. participants before 13:00 on the Friday before the race.
However, according to Aintree officials, the public found this system confusing and so, for this year’s Grand National, a competitor who drops out will not be replaced. In 2022, three reserves (Commodore, School Boy Hours and Romain De Senam) started.
Sulekha Varma, Aintree’s race director, said: “The reserve system has been put in place with the aim of giving us the best possible chance of ensuring we have a field of up to 40 runners.
“However, because the Randox Grand National is such a global phenomenon, there are greater demands on the delivery of race day data than when the system was introduced. The system had to work through reserves taking the racecard position of the relevant non-runner.
“This resulted in reserves, which are by definition the lowest rated horses in the race, appearing higher on the handicap in the race card even though they carried the least weight, making race card production and results return extremely challenging . for a number of outlets.”
What are the final chances for Grand National winners?
Betting on a horse to win a race before you even know the horse will be in the race is, of course, highly speculative. However, bookmakers are already taking bets, with most long-distance bettors putting their money on last year’s winner, Noble Yeats, who went 50-1 in 2022. The current five favorites are:
- Noble Yeats 8/1
- Longhouse Poet 14/1
- Every second Now 14/1
- Corach Rambler 16/1
- Capodanno 25/1
Odds correct as of January 11 and subject to change.
What are some of the famous fences on the track?
The Aintree fences are not as dangerous as they once were after a series of adjustments. However, they are still the industry’s most notorious obstacles and enough to make any jockey’s palms sweat.
Becher’s Brook: The sixth and 22nd obstacles in the race may not be the biggest, but the difficulty comes from the fact that the landing side is 10 inches lower than the start side. Named after Captain Martin Becher, a jockey who fell at this stage and hid in the stream to avoid injury.
Valentine’s Brook: Named after a horse that is said to have jumped it backwards in 1840. It is more likely that the horse spun in the air to create the optical illusion that its hind legs landed first.
The chair: The highest fence on the track is now 1.50 meters high.
Foinavon: One of the smaller fences is named after the 100/1 that avoided and won a disastrous pile-up here in 1967.
Channel bend: As the name suggests, horses must take a sharp left turn after jumping over this five-foot obstacle. Another Aintree myth is that used horses that refused to turn ended up in the Liverpool and Leeds canal.