Corach Rambler wins the Grand National as 118 people arrested after protest

Corach Rambler won the Grand National, but that was after protesters ran onto the track leading to over 100 arrests, as ITV News' Chris Skudder explains

Over 100 people were arrested at the Grand National, after protesters stormed the race course.

Corach Rambler won after a 12 minute delay to the race on Saturday at Aintree.

Police arrested 118 people at after a large number of protesters attempted enter the track and attach themselves to a fence using glue and lock-on devices, as well as glueing themselves to the neaby M57 road.

Campaign group Animal Rising had threatened to disrupt the four-and-a-quarter-mile race and were protesting from early on Saturday morning outside the track.

As the National runners were in the parade ring, a number of protestors got through security fences around the Liverpool venue and ran on to the course.

The horses were sent back to the pre-parade ring and after a delay of 12 minutes, the race started at 5.27pm.

Corach Rambler and jockey Derek Fox after winning the Grand National in 2023. Credit: PA Images

Corach Rambler, trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Derek Fox, then won.

A total of 118 people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and public nuisance offences in relation to disruption at the Grand National, Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Paul White said.

He said the number included pre-emptive arrests before the race and arrests relating to the protest on the M57, where activists glued themselves to the carriageway.

Merseyside Police said: “Just after 5pm, a large number of protesters attempted to gain entry on to the course. The majority were prevented from breaching the boundary fencing, but the nine individuals who managed to enter the course were later arrested by officers.”

Police apprehend protesters attempting to get into the course during three of the Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Credit: PA

Dickon White, who runs Aintree Racecourse as North West regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “The police and our security teams, who form part of a strong visible presence on course, dealt with the incident swiftly and decisively. The pre-race parade was cancelled as a result of the short delay.

“While the actions of a small number of individuals were intended to disrupt the event, the safety and security of everyone on course will always be our number one priority.”

Sarah McCaffrey, a shopworker and student and one of those disrupting the track, said: “Whether it’s for food or for fun, our use of animals and nature is symbolic of a relationship beyond broken. “We’re a nation of animal lovers, but the pain these beautiful creatures experience daily does not do that label justice. We need to find ways of loving animals that don’t hurt them. “I truly believe that we are a nation of animal lovers, every one of us. I know everyone coming to Aintree to view the races today would say they love the horses; however, the suffering experienced by them should shock us all. “That’s why I’ve decided to put my body between those horses and death on the racecourse, rather than gamble with their lives.”

Dark Raven ridden by jockey Paul Townend during day one of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival in Dublin, Ireland. Credit: PA

Horse Hill Sixteen fell during the opening stages of the race and suffered fatal injuries. 

Mr White said: “Hill Sixteen was immediately attended by expert veterinary professionals during the Grand National, but sadly sustained a fatal injury. Our heartfelt condolences are with his connections.”

Aintree Racecourse said Recite a Prayer and Cape Gentleman were assessed on course by veterinary teams after the race six, both walked onto the horse ambulance for further assessment in the stables, and there would be further updates in due course.

Dark Raven also died after racing on Saturday in the Mersey Novices Hurdle, the second death at the three-day festival after Envoye Special fell on Thursday.

Many racegoers at Aintree did not seem to notice the protest, and cheered on the horses as they passed.

Police remove ladders used by protesters during day three of the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Credit: PA

Christine Maybin, 29, from Antrim, Northern Ireland, at the races with Dwayne McGurk, 31, said: “We noticed the delay but we didn’t know it was because of protesters, we thought they were fixing the fences.”

Mr McGurk said: “The delay didn’t affect us, we just got another drink in. We’ve had an unbelievable day here.”

Earlier, three people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance ahead of the Grand National at the Aintree Racecourse.

Police arrested a 33-year-old woman, who is from London, on Saturday 15 April in Greater Manchester this morning.

It follows plans revealed by activist group Animal Rising to scale the fences and enter the racetrack at Aintree before the Grand National race begins at 5.15pm.

Merseyside Police arrested another woman and a man outside the Aintree Racecourse on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance.

The 25-year-old woman, from London, was arrested just before 11.30am, while the man was arrested at approximately 11.50am.

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