Grand National Festival: Everything you need to know as event returns for 2023

Horses at Aintree preparing for the Randox Grand National festival starting today
Horses at Aintree preparing for the Randox Grand National festival 2023. Credit: PA Images

The world's best known steeplechase beckons with the beginning of the Randox Grand National festival.

The festival is spread across three days, there are 15 races, culminating in the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 15 April.

ITV will cover all the action from 9:30am on ITV4 on Thursday 13 April.

Horses on the gallop at Aintree preparing for the Randox Grand National. Credit: PA Images

When does the racing start and when should you arrive?

Racing takes place from 1:45pm and those who want to be at the course in Aintree are being urged to use public transport with train services taking less than 10 minutes from Liverpool city centre.

You can find details of the timetable for trains from all over Merseyside on Merseyrail.

Anyone planning to travel is being warned to buy tickets in advance to avoid queuing times.

The rail provider is also telling passengers that no alcohol can be consumed on these services.

There are still tickets available for punters on all three days of the festival ranging from £30 to over £1,000.

The Aintree racecourse website has details of all the events including DJ sets, string quartets and swing bands as well as the famous style awards on Ladies Day.

One of the highlights of the festival is Ladies Day. Credit: PA Images

What will the weather be like?

Anyone considering their sartorial options for Ladies Day may want to take a note of the weather and bring a brolly.

The Met Office is predicting a mix of sunshine and showers over the next three days, the traditional conditions of the great British Spring time.

Temperatures are not too bad, and the fashionistas who flock to Aintree are renowned for braving much worse without a coat ruining their look!

Preparations for the world famous steeplechase hurdles. Credit: PA Images

What about the Grand National?

Final preparations have taken place on the turf and hurdles that make up the world famous course which sees horses do two laps, jumping 30 fences over more than four miles.

The Jockey Club's latest information says conditions on the course for the National are good to soft but this is tested and re-assessed regularly.

The Jockey Club says going is good to soft as the grass is given a last cut before the event. Credit: PA Images

There are currently 50 horses on the race card but that is also subject to change.

One of the favourites is last year's winner Noble Yeats, who will bid to join Red Rum and Tiger Roll as a multiple winner of the prestigious event.

Winner in 2022 Noble Yeats is bidding to triumph again this year Credit: PA

Another contender is Corach Rambler who is co-owned by a 21-year-old student from Edinburgh, Cameron Sword.

He knew nothing about horse racing but got interested during lockdown.

He was one of six who paid £3,000 to owner Lucinda Russell, the partner of former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, for a share of the horse which cost her £17,000.

Cameron Sword with Corach Rambler. The horse he bought a stake in is now a favourite for the Grand National Credit: PA

The syndicate based in Kinross in Scotland could win £500,000 if Corach passes the finish line first.

They may want to celebrate or commiserate in one of the 80 bars and restaurants dotted around the course.

Each year, it’s believed 250,000 pints of beer, 38,000 shots and 5,000 cocktails are consumed at the event, along with 75,000 cups of tea & coffee who want a clear head to remember their winnings!