Aintree racecourse prepares to host its first ever boxing day fixture

ITV Granada Sports correspondent David Chisnall reports on the first ever Boxing Day race meeting at Aintree Racecourse.

Aintree Racecourse, the home of the Grand National, is preparing to host its first ever Boxing Day fixture.

It is the revival of a Christmas tradition for the Liverpool-based venue which hosted pre-Christmas December race days back in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Christmas period is one of the busiest times of the year for horse racing.

For Josh Guerriero, a trainer and former jockey at Stockton Hall Farm in Cheshire, he will spend Christmas Day preparing his horses to race.

He said: "For us it's pretty much the busiest time of the year.

"There's a lot of racing on Boxing Day so Christmas Day you're up early in the morning and getting the horses out because they need to be ridden the day before they run.

"It's always a busy time for us but it's good we all love it."

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for horse racing.

Josh will be training horses for races across the country on Boxing Day, including in Aintree.

He said: "It's nice to have a meeting because we haven't had one in the North West for a long time so especially to have Aintree of all places is even better."

While the 2023 Boxing Day races are unlikely to be as popular as other events at Aintree, organisers hope the crowds will grow each year.

The Clerk of the Course, Sulekha Varma, said: "We want Boxing Day racing to be synonymous with Liverpool and the sport that we offer in the area.

"It's going to take a few years to build up and hopefully it'll become a regular family day out for people every year having enjoyed their Christmas Day."

Gates will open for the Boxing Day race card on the at 10.05am and will feature seven races.

Racing is expected to begin around 12.05pm with the last race expected to finish at 3.50pm.

Aintree racecourse. Credit: ITV News

What are the seven races for the boxing day fixtures and when do they begin?

  • The Mares’ Handicap Hurdle 0-120: Distance 2m 4f – 11.55am

  • The Unibet Veteran’s Handicap Chase (10yo+) 0-150: Distance 2m 4f – 12.30pm

  • The Racing TV Handicap Hurdle (Class 2): Distance 2m 4f – 1.05pm

  • The Formby Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Formerly the Tolworth Hurdle) (ITV): Distance 2m ½f – 1.40pm

  • The Bet at Handicap Chase 0-130: Distance 3m 1f – 2.15pm

  • The Visit Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase: Distance 2m 4f – 2.50pm

  • The Racing TV National Hunt Flat Race: Distance 2m 1f – 3.25pm

Aintree racecourse hosted pre-Christmas December race days in the 50s and 60s. Credit: ITV News

Adult tickets start from £30 for the Grandstand and Paddock, while groups of 15 have a discounted price of £25.

Queen Mother seats are £50 and give a direct view of the Finishing Post with excellent vantage points over the Course.

Children under 18 years old can go free in the grandstand and paddock. Tickets can be purchased on the day or online.