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For some, there's a dark side to the Grand National

The excitement of the Grand National is like no other sporting event and many of you will have taken part in the work sweepstake.

For many of us it'll be the one time in the year that we'll actually have a gamble.

But while it's a bit of fun for most of us, for others it can become an addiction.

Our correspondent David Chisnall has been looking into the issue of problem gambling.

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We catch up with Sir Kenny Dalglish at Aintree

The Grand National Festival's officially opened.

Security is tight as thousands of racegoers decend on Merseyside over the next 3 days for the Aintree Festival.

Racegoers have a feast of action today, on what's described as 'the day for Champions'.

We caught up with Sir Kenny Dalglish.

Final preparations underway for the Grand National

Aintree - home of the Grand National Credit: pa

Security is tight as thousands of racegoers descend on Merseyside over the next 3 days for the Aintree Festival.

It opens later, with Ladies Day tomorrow... culminating in the world famous steeple chase on Saturday.

Superintendent Louise Harrison from Merseyside Police wants people to have a great time and to stay safe.

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Racegoers accessorise with umbrellas at Ladies' Day

Credit: Press Association
Former footballer Jamie Carragher at Aintree Credit: Press Association

Stylish racegoers accessorised with umbrellas as the rain failed to dampen spirits at Aintree's Ladies Day.

Punters vowed not to let the wet weather ruin the event as they gathered for the second day of the famous race meet in Merseyside.

Sophie Gatliff, 27, who came up from London with friend Lydia Unwin, 24, for the racing said: "Once we have a glass of champagne we'll be fine!"

Ms Unwin said the weather was disappointing but added: "We're going to get over that, I'm sure."

The pair both wore bright colours, with Ms Unwin in a green dress with fascinator and Ms Gatliff wearing a wide-legged jumpsuit with yellow pattern.

Ms Unwin said: "I think it's a really fun day just to dress up, and you know you can wear things a little bit more extravagant, that you wouldn't otherwise get to wear, so I just went for colour."

Carole Cooper, 59, from Wigan wore an emerald green dress which she had made herself.

She said: "It's my favourite colour and I know green is in this year."

She added: "We're not going to let the rain put us off."

Her husband Jim, 61, said: "It's always fabulous - Ladies Day, Aintree, the whole meeting - it's just brilliant."

Other trends on the racecourse included neutral shades and floral patterns, with some female racegoers favouring trousers over the traditional dresses.

Charlotte Wilson, 24, from Burnley said she had gone for "neutral glam" in a beige off-the-shoulder dress and fascinator, while friend Maddie Stevenson, 20, went for a "red classic dress"

Credit: Press Association
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