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Grand National TV coverage earlier than usual this year

February 27, 2024

The Aintree Grand National is expected to have an earlier start time in 2024, following safety concerns surrounding the race. The Grand National is arguably the world’s most famous horse race, capturing the imagination of millions of bettors and casual viewers worldwide. It’s one of the main races where the bookmakers tout for custom with Grand National welcome bonus promotions reviewed and rated in the days and weeks leading up to the four-mile, 514-yard race. These include free bets and betting bundles designed to encourage new and returning customers to pick a horse.

The race, which is guaranteed to be broadcast live on ITV until 2026 at the earliest, is now expected to start at 4pm on April 13th. The organisers of this prestigious £1 million race are mulling over a string of changes to the feature race of the Aintree meeting. This includes slashing the number of entrants in the race from 40 to 34 runners.

Why the early start?

Since 2016, the Aintree Grand National has been raced at 5.15pm. The start time was designed to coincide with the end of the traditional 3pm football kick-offs on the Saturday afternoon, helping to drive betting volumes and viewing figures as a result.

However, Sulekha Varma, course clerk at Aintree Racecourse, said the track’s gatekeepers leave “no stone unturned” in ensuring industry leading welfare for race participants. The team conducted a root-and-branch review of the iconic race following the eventful 2023 Randox Grand National, which resulted in heavy delays caused by protestors storming the racecourse.

Varma also added the decision was influenced by the racecourse’s ground, insisting that bringing forward the race by 75 minutes would ensure the world’s finest steeplechasers would have “optimal jumping ground”.

Aside from the earlier start time, there’s additional alterations planned for the 2024 Grand National. The first fence will be moved 60 yards nearer to slow down the pace at which the horses approach it. There will also be tweaks to the running rail of the circuit, making it easier to retain loose horses for everyone’s safety.

Can Corach Rambler win back-to-back Grand Nationals?

Lucinda Russell’s Corach Rambler landed the 2023 Grand National, making him only the third Grand National winner to be trained north of the border in Scotland. Derek Fox looks set to mount his charge again to try and replicate the achievements of Red Rum and Tiger Roll in winning back-to-back Nationals at Aintree.

The bookmakers certainly think he’s in with a chance, with most operators currently pricing him as the joint-second favourite alongside Mahler Mission. The clear pre-race favourite at present is Vanillier. This horse was said to have handled Aintree’s fences best last year, but mounted his charge for Corach Rambler too late. Punters think he can go one better this time around. Tune in to ITV on April 13th for the latest instalment of this much-loved race.

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