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Road closures for the National and what time does the Grand National 2018 start?


It's estimated that a quarter of the UK adult population will bet on the Randox Health sponsored Grand National in 2018. Most people will have a small each-way bet on a horse they fancy for no other reason than they like the name. Of course there’s nothing wrong with picking a horse for that reason, as pre-race favourites have a dire record in the race.


A TV audience in excess of 10 million will tune in to watch the drama of the 2018 Grand National unfold on Saturday 14th of April at 5:15pm. Along with those watching at home a 70,000 strong crowd will be at Aintree racecourse to cheer on the horses from the first fence to the final furlong.

Road Closures

Road closures for the Grand National will operate from 4pm-8pm on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th April 2018 and on Saturday 14th April from 5pm to 9pm

Warbreck Moor between Park Lane and the Black Bull

Ormskirk Rd between Topham Drive and Park Lane

Park Lane between Ormskirk Road and Bridle Road.

Who Decides The Runners & Riders?

Every year a maximum of 40 horses line up at the start of the Aintree Grand National and 600 million people worldwide tune in to watch them tackle the 30 notoriously difficult fences in a bid to put themselves into the history books. But how do those particular runners and riders make it to Grand National day?

When is Ladies Day?

Ladies Day is on Friday 13th April.

Ladies Day brings a touch of elegance to The Randox Health Grand National Festival, providing an opportunity for racegoers to compete in the style stakes alongside top class racing action on the iconic Aintree course. We’ll search for our Style Award winner by crowning Aintree’s most impressive fashionista. The day’s big feature races include The Topham Steeple Chase, Melling Steeple Chase and the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, to complete an exciting adrenaline-fuelled racecard. Make Ladies' Day the one time in 2018 that you get together for a truly memorable celebration.

The Horses

A horse will be entered into the Grand National if it meets the minimum criteria for qualification and the owner and trainer feel that their horse is capable of handling the race. Not all horses are suited to the long Aintree course or have the necessary jumping ability. Even if a horse gets entered that doesn't guarantee a place at the starting line.


The race is open to horses aged seven and upwards that have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and who are allotted a rating of at least 120 by the BHA Handicapper.


The entry date for the race is always at the end of January, with the names and numbers announced by the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) the following day. In 2017 there were 110 entries, 2016 had 126 entries, an increase of 28 on the 98 entered in 2015.


The BHA Head Of Handicapping then takes the list of entries and frames the weights. In other words, he decides which horses will carry the heaviest weights and which will carry the least. The handicap system is designed to give every horse a fair chance of winning the race, good horses will carry more weight than those perceived to have less ability.


The maximum weight any horse can carry in the 2018 Grand National will be 11st 10lbs and the minimum is 10st. Each runner's weight will be largely determined by their OR (Official Rating) and the higher the rating, the higher the weight. Although the Grand National is the only race in Britain in which the Handicapper can ignoring the official ratings if he wishes, often to the consternation of owners and trainers.


Horses are then put in descending order from the highest to the lowest weighted and that also determines their race number. The top-weighted horse is number one, second heaviest weighted horse is number two and so on.


The weights are then announced, in 2017 it was on February 14th, and from then on a series of ‘Declaration Stages’ take place. At each of these stages, horses can be withdrawn from the proceedings by their trainers and as they are removed and the entries get whittled down so even horses that have not initially made the Top 40 may now do so as entries above them are taken out.


The very last declaration stage takes place at 10am on the Thursday immediately before Grand National day. This is the point where the top 40 horses will be near completion along with four additional reserves.


The following morning, Friday, at 10am any non-runners must be declared and be replaced by one of the four reserves. This is also the point where any horses who were previously allocated weights of less than 10st will have their weight increased to meet requirements.

Finally this results in the 40 declared horses who will line up for the 2017 Randox Health Grand National.

The Jockeys

The criteria for professional or amateur jockeys wanting to take part in the race are very specific. They must have ridden not less than 15 winners in chases or hurdle races under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Committee and ridden not less than 10 of these winners in chases.


A champion jockey like A.P. McCoy who primarily rode horses for super owner J.P. McManus had his pick of horses in the race before he retired. Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty are other top jockeys who can often choose their rides and odds will tumble on any horses chosen by the pair.

Amateur jockeys are now a rarity in the Grand National compared with races early days. Sam Whaley-Cohen is probably the most famous amateur rider in recent years and he enjoys a record over the Aintree fences which is the envy of many a professional.


Other jockeys will usually ride for the yards that retain them or a trainer will engage their services just for this race. In recent years a number of high profile jockeys have missed the race due to injuries picked up at the Cheltenham festival which is the last major National Hunt meeting before Aintree.


Don't be put off backing a less well known jockey or even one who has never ridden the course before. In 2013 jockey Ryan Mania won the race at his first attempt!

Find out everything you need to know about the Grand National here: http://www.grandnational2017.com/

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