Animal welfare campaigners will gather outside Aintree racecourse, calling for the Grand National to be banned on the grounds of cruelty.

The annual Anti-Grand National demonstration is organised by Merseyside-based Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe (FAACE).

"In the past 16 years 18 horses have died in the Grand National. This means that as there are 40 runners the odds are less than 40-1 that your horse will die. Would I risk a loved one's life at those odds? I don't think so, but for the racing fraternity love of money and vanity take over. Poor horse you are disposable collateral in the business of horseracing." "What is needed is a radical rethink for the safety of the horses. Not a tinkering at the edges to kid the general public into thinking that all will be well."

Officials at the world-famous Aintree course say it is now safer than ever for the horses.

They say new plastic frames for some fences pose less danger following the deaths of two horses last year. The starting post has also been moved 90 yards.