How the 'Race Against Dementia' brought Formula One champion Jackie Stewart to the Grand National

Motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart will officially start the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday afternoon.

He's the founder of Race Against Dementia, the official charity partner for the Randox Grand National Festival 2023.

The three-times Formula One World Champion said he felt "privileged" to take his race to find a cure for dementia to Aintree as he attended Friday's Ladies Day.

He said: "I'm sorry I'm back here because of dementia, but I'm very happy to be back here because it's one of the great events of the year of sport, and horse power, which I'm quite used to. I'm very happy to be here at Aintree, it's a great place.

"My wife Helen, more than 60 years we've been married, was identified [with dementia] eight years ago.

"One in three people are going to die with dementia, and there is no cure. That's a terrible reality.

"Race Against Dementia is going to change that."

Sir Jackie and Helen Stewart at the Wimbledon Championships in 2019. Credit: Press Association

Ahead of the Grand National on Saturday, Sir Jackie will be ringing the bell to signify it's time for the jockeys to mount their horses and head to the start, and he feels "privileged" to be taking on the honour.

He joked: "I'm just hoping I can do it the right way!"

Sir Jackie added: "I've never done that before, and it's a privilege to be able to do it, particularly at this event. It's an enormous event, the biggest event of its kind in the world in my opinion."

The 2023 Festival is a welcome return to Aintree for Sir Jackie, who raced at Aintree in the 1960s, at a time when Aintree was part of the Grand Prix circuit.

He said: "I came here to race in Formula Three, and I won the race, so Aintree has been quite kind to me."

Sir Jackie's wife Lady Helen was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014.