General

All the latest news for The John Smith’s Grand National meeting

js logoJohn Smith’s Grand National Day at Aintree – Saturday, April 6 – is now sold out in all enclosures which means over 70,000 will watch the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National.

Racegoers can purchase tickets and badges on the gate for the first two days of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting – Grand Opening Day tomorrow, Thursday, April 4 and Ladies’ Day, Friday, April 5.

Advance bookings are 10 per cent up for tomorrow so a new record crowd of more than 30,00 is expected for Grand Opening Day, while the attendance on Friday will be in excess of 50,000

JOHN SMITHS’ GRAND NATIONAL RUNNER TARQUINIUS SOLD TO NEW OWNER

Tarquinius, a runner in the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National, has been sold to a new owner three days before the big race on Saturday

Richard Gilbert, who has horses in training with Lucinda Russell, Chris Grant, Rose Dobbin and Keith Dalgleish, has bought the 10-year-old Turgeon gelding in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Tom Malone.

Tarquinius is trained by Gordon Elliott in Co Meath, a trainer who knows all about what it takes to win the John Smith’s Grand National, and he will continue to train the horse.

Gilbert said of his purchase today “I don’t have a staying chaser at the moment and the fact that he had an entry in the John Smith’s Grand National was an added bonus.

“I have two other runners at the John Smith’s Grand National meeting – Montoya’s Son (trained by Chris Grant) in the Grade Three John Smith’s Topham Chase and Rathvawn Belle (trained by Lucinda Russell) in the Listed John Smith’s Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race on Friday.

“Tarquinius will run in my name, although my other horses run under my company banner, because I didn’t have a horse in Ireland and I didn’t have time to sort out a company registration with Weatherbys Ire.”

Tom Malone added: “Because he held an entry in the John Smiths’ Grand National as well as being well handicapped over hurdles, we felt we should go for him. He is a horse who could stay in the big chases or go well over hurdles in Ireland. We could have a lot of fun with him.”

Richard Gilbert is the managing director of Straightline Construction Co Ltd, a construction firm based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, which specialises in the external refurbishment of houses throughout the north east. Straightline works in partnership with local authorities and social housing landlords to implement the government’s decent homes standard and modernisation programmes.

Gilbert, 34, was formerly a director of Aroma Wines, a fine wine brokers in the north east, and played rugby as a loose head prop until recently. He said “I found that it didn’t look very good coming into work with a black eye.”.

A lifelong fan of horseracing, Gilbert added: “There is no better spectacle than racing, and even better if you have a horse involved.”

“I have had horses for six to seven years, though I don’t ride myself. As a former prop, I don’t really have the build for it, though my wife Katherine rides. Katherine and I will both be there on Friday and Saturday.”

THE RUNNERS FOR THE 2013 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL KNOWN TOMORROW MORNINGXChorses

The deadline for trainers and owners to take horses out of the Grand National is tomorrow (Thursday, April 4) at 10am.

There are 46 horses going forward this afternoon following Quinz’s withdrawal today because of a poor scope, Quinz’s scratching late this afternoon because of the same reason and the non-qualification of Romanesco after he ran in the Irish Grand National on Monday.

This means that both Major Malarkey, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, and the Jo Hughes-trained Soll get in the race.

Ruby Walsh has been confirmed as the rider of the 7/1 John Smith’s Grand National favourite with Betfred, official betting partner of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting.

The maximum number of runners is 40 on Saturday in the £975,000 race over 30 fences and four miles, three furlongs and about 110 yards.

There will be 40 declared runners and up to four reserves known before 11am tomorrow. The reserves will be utilised if there any non-runners by 9am on Friday, April 5.

THE 2013 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONALPARADE

Class 1, Grade 3, £975,000 total prize fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 6, 2013, about four miles, three and a half furlongs. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, up to and including March 18, 2013, have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and which are allotted a rating of 120 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 10, 2013. Horses who are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including February 10 would merit a minimum rating of 120. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 10, 2013. At the handicapper’s discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. The British Horseracing Authority has modified Rule (F)42.2.1 for the purposes of this race, such that racecourse performances up to and including Sunday, February 12, may be taken into account. A novice horse shall only be qualified to run in this race if it has run a minimum of three times in chases in Great Britain, Ireland or France in accordance with Rule (F)42.5. Highest weight 11st 10lb – no penalties after publication of the weights. Entries closed January 29, entries revealed January 30 (84 entries), weights revealed February 12, first scratchings’ deadline February 26 (73 go forward, 11 scratched), second scratchings’ deadline March 19 (57 go forward, 16 scratched). Five-day confirmation stage April 1, (49 go forward, 8 scatched) final declaration stage 10.00am, April 4 (two more out beforehand). Maximum field size of 40, plus four reserves. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, March 31. Weights raised 4lb since original weights.

Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer/Probable Jockey

1) 51U/1P/-2 IMPERIAL COMMANDER (IRE) 12-11-10 Our Friends in the North Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies

2) P/33F0-0 WHAT A FRIEND 10-11-09 Ged Mason & Sir Alex Ferguson Paul Nicholls/Sam Thomas

3) 3PF-4PP WEIRD AL (IRE) 10-11-08 Brannon Dick Holden Donald McCain/Timmy Murphy

4) 1113-04 QUEL ESPRIT (FR) 9-11-07 Red Barn Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE

5) 40/-U312 BIG FELLA THANKS 11-11-06 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George/Denis O’Regan

6) 1113-23 SEABASS (IRE) 10-11-06 Gunners Syndicate Ted Walsh IRE

7) 0-1U355 ROBERTO GOLDBACK (IRE) 11-11-06 Simon Munir Nicky Henderson

8) P012-5P SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE) 10-11-04 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill

9) 1/46-P03 BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 12-11-04 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain/Jason Maguire

10) 11-0620 TEAFORTHREE (IRE) 9-11-03 T437 Rebecca Curtis

11) 3-11201 ACROSS THE BAY (IRE) 9-11-02 Scotch Piper Syndicate Donald McCain/Henry Brooke

12) 1P3-02P JOIN TOGETHER (IRE) 8-11-02 Ian Fogg & Paul Barber Paul Nicholls/Daryl Jacob

13) 413-5211 COLBERT STATION (IRE) 9-11-01 J P McManus Ted Walsh IRE

14) 2P1536 FORPADYDEPLASTERER (IRE) 11-11-00 Goat Racing Syndicate Thomas Cooper IRE/Andrew McNamara

15) P1/B1F-1 ON HIS OWN (IRE) 9-11-00 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh

16) 0-35233 JONCOL (IRE) 10-10-13 Kay Browne Paul Nolan IRE

17) P0F1-12 BALTHAZAR KING (IRE) 9-10-12 The Brushmakers Philip Hobbs

18) 1334-22 CAPPA BLEU (IRE) 11-10-11 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams/Paul Moloney

19) 2/4-4U60 OSCAR TIME (IRE) 12-10-11 Robert Waley-Cohen/Sir Martin & Steve Broughton Martin Lynch IRE

20) 44001-00 ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 12-10-10 Peter & Linda Douglas Peter Bowen

21) 15U-606 TATENEN (FR) 9-10-10 The Stewart Family Richard Rowe

22) 423F-01 TREACLE (IRE) 12-10-09 Bjorn Nielsen Tom Taaffe IRE/Andrew Lynch

23) 011611 LOST GLORY (NZ) 8-10-08 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill

24) P-P1440 SWING BILL (FR) 12-10-08 David Johnson David Pipe/Conor O’Farrell

25) U01-F430 SAINT ARE (FR) 7-10-08 David Fox Tim Vaughan/Dougie Costello

26) B-0U631 CHICAGO GREY (IRE) 10-10-07 John Earls Gordon Elliott IRE

27) 010F-605 QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 9-10-07 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE

28) 3B0-643 RARE BOB (IRE) 11-10-06 D A Syndicate Dessie Hughes IRE/Bryan Cooper

29) 04-311P4 THE RAINBOW HUNTER 9-10-06 May We Never Be Found Out Partnership Kim Bailey

30) F-63PP5 BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 10-10-06 Noel Glynn Noel Glynn IRE/Martin Ferris

31) 12P-P00 HARRY THE VIKING 8-10-06 Sir Alex Ferguson, Ged Mason, Ron Wood & Peter Done Paul Nicholls /Ryan Mahon

32) 2360264 MR MOONSHINE (IRE) 9-10-05 April Strang-Steel, Douglas Pryde & Jim Beaumont Sue Smith/Peter Buchanan

33) 1133FP MUMBLES HEAD (IRE) 12-10-04 Patricia Thompson Peter Bowen/Jamie Moore

34) F2PP-44 PEARLYSTEPS 10-10-04 The Glazeley Partnership Henry Daly

35) 3F6042 NINETIETH MINUTE (IRE) 10-10-03 Dermot Cox Tom Taaffe IRE/Niall Madden

36) 0P45F5 AURORAS ENCORE (IRE) 11-10-03 Douglas Pryde, Jim Beaumont & D P van der Hoeven Sue Smith

37) P11420 TARQUINIUS (FR) 10-10-02 Richard Gilbert Gordon Elliott IRE

38) 614U40 ANY CURRENCY (IRE) 10-10-00 Cash Is King Martin Keighley/Ian Popham

39) 2P-265P MAJOR MALARKEY (IRE) 10-9-13 Baker, Dodd & Cooke Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Scudamore

40) 621B-001 SOLL 8-9-12 Derrick Mossop Jo Hughes/Mark Grant

41) /5000/P-P BACKSTAGE (FR) 11-9-12 MPR & Capranny Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE

42) 023P25 VIKING BLOND (FR) 8-9-11 Caroline Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies

43) 2161-30 CLOUDY LANE 13-9-10 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain

44) 000165 PENTIFFIC (NZ) 10-9-08 P Sinn, P Lawrence, L Sutcliffe, M Smith Venetia Williams

45) 0/44-060 GULLIBLE GORDON (IRE) 10-9-06 Yeh Man Partnership Peter Bowen

46) P-22150 MORTIMERS CROSS 12-9-06 John Needham John Needham

ROMANESCO (FR) 8-9-11 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE nq

QUINZ (FR) 9-10-10 Andrew Cohen Philip Hobbs – taken out today

POKER DE SIVOLA (FR) 10-9-13 David Johnson Ferdy Murphy – scratched today

WarnedOff

FANTASTIC JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL MELLING CHASE ON FRIDAY

£200,000 John Smith’s Melling Chase 2m 4f Friday, April 5, 2013

NO. FORM HORSE AGE/WEIGHT TRAINER JOCKEY

1 2-1511 Cue Card 7-11-10 Colin Tizzard Joe Tizzard

2 211-46 Finian´s Rainbow 10-11-10 Nicky Henderson A P McCoy

3 1-1132 Flemenstar 8-11-10 Peter Casey AndrewLynch

4 3-1253 For Non Stop 8-11-10 Nick Williams Noel Fehily

5 R3042R Mad Moose 9-11-10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies

6 11-111 Sprinter Sacre 7-11-10 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty

GOING REMAINS THE SAME

The going remains the same at Aintree after another dry day. Selective watering was carried out today to maintain the current ground descriptions.

Grand National course- Good to Soft, Good in places
Mildmay & Hurdle courses – Good, Good to Soft in places

Andrew Tulloch, Regional Head of Racing North West and Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said this afternoon: “We have watered around fences 13 and 14 on the Grand National course

“It was a warm morning but has clouded over this afternoon. It is likely to be cloudy tomorrow as well.

“We will keep an eye on the ground going forward. If we need to water during the meeting, we can do as we have the necessary facilities. We will monitor everything tomorrow and see how things go. Saturday may be a bit warmer but also cloudier.

“We are not losing a lot of moisure in the ground because of plant growth or through evaporation

“We have had a hard winter and there has been little grass growth because of the low temperatures. The courses are looking great but we would have liked some grass growth.

“The advantage of the Grand National course is that we don’t race down the inside of it in December at the Becher meeting so there is plenty of fresh ground which has not been raced on for a year.”

FIRST HORSES TO ARRIVE FOR THE 2013 JOHN SMITHS’ GRAND NATIONAL MEETING

The first horse to arrive at Aintree for the 2013 John Smiths’ Grand National meeting was Whodoyouthink, trained by Oliver McKiernan on the Curragh, Co Kildare, Ireland.

Whodoyouthink, who reached Aintree yesterday evening (Tuesday), runs in the Grade One Betfred Bowl (2.30pm) tomorrow, Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 4.

Others at Aintree include Mouse Morris’s charge, First Lieutenant, who also lines up in the Betfred Bowl, along with Quito De La Roque, trained by Colm Murphy, who hails from Gorey in Co Wexford, plus Carlito Briganti, trained by Gordon Elliott in Co Meath, who runs in the Grade One Betfred Manifesto Novices’ Chase (4.50pm, Thursday).

Co Meath trainer Peter Casey’s stable star Flemenstar arrived overnight and takes on Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card in the Grade Two John Smith’s Melling Chase on Ladies’ Day, Friday, April 5 at 3.05pm.

The first John Smiths’ Grand National runners are due to arrive at Aintree this evening.

iStock_000016070653SmallFATHER HOPES DAUGHTERS AVOID EMERGENCY AND DEFY GRAVITY IN JOHN SMITH’S FOX HUNTERS’ AT AINTREE TOMORROW

Bedfordshire farmer Simon Andrews, who won the 1988 John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase on Newnham, will be a proud spectator tomorrow when his two daughters line up in the famous ‘amateurs’ National’.

Gina, 21, takes her second ride in the race and again partners Emergency Cover, on who she was 10th last year, while Bridget, 19, makes her debut over the big fences when teaming up with Defying Gravity.

Their father admits: “Both girls have seen the video of me winning on Newnham a good few times – and no, it’s not in black and white!

“To be honest the girls have little chance of winning, but the same could be said of Newnham, who started as a 50/1 shot, and there was plenty of 66/1 on course. I had won point-to-points on him and we gave him a little practice in a Leicestershire maiden hunter chase when he was third, but he was the most brilliant jumper, and they needed to be at Aintree in those days.

“The following year I rode him in the Grand National and we finished 10th, and we later took him to America for the Maryland Hunt Cup. We fell at the fourth.

“We’ll walk the course in the morning, but there’s not much advice I can give. You just go out there and ride it like it’s another race. You give a horse a kick – rather than take a pull – because the ditches are wide, and if your horse takes to the place you are in for a fantastic ride. Both Gina and Bridget are on horses that have a reasonable chance of getting round and that would be a good achievement.”

Two previous winners are in the line-up among the 25 runners, namely Cloudy Lane, who won last year, and Silver Adonis, who teams up once again with Tom Weston, his rider when successful on 2010. Keenan’s Future, who was fourth last year, and Boxer Georg and Offshore Account, who were second and third in 2011, are others with experience of the contest.

Two riders – Sam Waley-Cohen and Katie Walsh – will be getting their eye in over the spruce fences before riding in Saturday’s John Smith’s Grand National. Walsh, third in last year’s big race on Seabass, rides his stablemate Battlefront – both horses are trained by Katie’s father Ted, while Battlefront is owned by her mother Helen. He had compiled nine straight wins in Irish point-to-points, but his winning sequence was ended when third in a hunter chase at Fairyhouse in February – the winner, Warne, is in opposition again tomorrow for trainer Brian Hamilton.

Waley-Cohen, who rides Oscar Time in the big one having finished runner-up on him to Ballabriggs in 2011, partners Cottage Oak for Cheshire trainer Joe O’Shea in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase. The 10-year-old has the best recent form among the 25 runners having finished third in last month’s CGA Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when Paddy Gerety was in the saddle. Waley-Cohen’s Aintree experience and excellent record over the National fences has led to his booking.

John Ferguson, racing and bloodstock advisor to Sheikh Mohammed, saddles Earth Dream who will be a first ride over the fences for the trainer’s son, James, and while champion trainer Paul Nicholls saddles two runners he also faces opposition from his mother-in-law, Fiona Browne. Mrs Browne saddles Bold Addition, a very impressive winner of two hunter chases this season, while Nicholls calls upon Gwanako, the mount of Jody Sole, and Rebel Du Maquis, who is partnered by Britain’s reigning champion point-to-point rider Will Biddick.

Denman’s brother Silverburn, who was runner-up to Bold Addition on his latest outing, represents trainer Evan Williams, while another Welsh runner, Silver Story, is trained by Tim Vaughan’s brother, William.

Aintree chairman Lord Daresbury has an interest in the race via Cool Friend. He owns a leg in the mare and she is trained and ridden by his son Oliver, whose brother Thomas won the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase in 2009 on Trust Fund.

The 2013 John Smith’s Grand Nationalbinoculars

John Baker, Regional Director North West of Jockey Club Racecourses, will welcome the media to Aintree Racecourse at 12.25pm tomorrow in the media centre.

Five minutes later at 12.30pm, he will hold a press conference about the changes made to the Grand National course.

Please find below a summary of the changes and other measures in place for the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National, plus a document which was circulated to jockeys.

The changes Aintree has made to the course, in particular the Grand National fence frames, have received a wealth of positive publicity.

John Smith’s Grand National Key Points

The Grand National is woven into the fabric of British culture and, while the race is designed to be a unique and tough test, Aintree Racecourse ensures it is as fair and as safe as possible.

Nothing has greater importance to Aintree than the safety and welfare of horses and riders. The racecourse constantly strives to improve this further.

Aintree is conscious of the responsibility to ensure the Grand National is run as safely as possible, while maintaining the race as a unique sporting challenge.

The changes and investment made over recent years are good for the race and for racing.

Qualification

The minimum age for entries is seven.

All entries must have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase over three miles during their career.

The current rider eligibility criterion has been expanded to require at least 10 of the minimum 15 career wins to have been in chases.

Grand National start

Changes implemented to the Grand National start this year can be summarised as follows:

The start has been moved forward by around 90 yards for this year, away from the crowds and grandstands.

The “no-go” zone defined by a line on the track has been extended from 15 yards to around 30 yards from the starting tape this year.

The starter’s rostrum has moved this year to a position between starting tape and “no-go” zone to reduce potential for horses to get on top of the starting tape prematurely.

More user-friendly start tapes are being used this year, with increased visibility.

The BHA has been working with jockeys since the autumn in a concerted drive to alter jockey behaviour at jump starts, with the aim of redressing the sometimes much faster approaches towards the tape which can occur in bigger races. This has involved a more consistent methodology across the starters’ teams in the application and enforcement of the Rules at the start of a race.

A specific briefing between the starter’s team and jockeys takes place on Grand National day.

Additional measures have been put in place to minimise the possibility of a riderless horse travelling an extended distance before being caught prior to the start.

Fence cores

Aintree and the British Horseracing Authority have been involved in a three-year research and development programme looking at alternative fence construction for the Grand National course. This specifically focused on utilising materials other than the timber and protective rubber padding that used to make up the central frame of a fence.

Following the successful trial of prototype fences with a different frame at the Betfred Becher Chase meeting in December, Aintree now has 12 fences with plastic cores around the Grand National Course. The remaining three fences, which are open ditches, have had the wooden frames replaced by traditional birch.

Fence heights remain unchanged.

Becher’s Brook

Forming part of the racecourse’s on-going programme of works, Becher’s Brook has undergone further levelling of the wider landing zone, correcting the settlement which occurred following works carried out in 2011.

This has not changed either the dimensions or the character of the fences (the current drop, the difference in height between the level of the ground on take-off and landing, will remain at 10 inches on the inside of the course and six inches on the outside of the course).

Landing areas

Following the 2011 Review, the landing area of the first fence was levelled to smooth out undulations existing in the natural terrain. This process has now been extended to fences four, five and 13.

All works were carried out last summer to ensure time for the course to settle before the racing which took place in December of 2012.

Field size

Following the extensive 2011 Review into the Grand National, the BHA agreed to maintain the current safety factor at 40 horses. Detailed analysis in the 2012 annual review found no evidence that horses were unsighted when jumping fences. Through consultation with jockeys and trainers, there was general acknowledgement that the Grand National course is wide enough to accommodate the current number of runners. In fact, evidence does not suggest that changing the number of runners will have a positive effect on the race. During the 1990s, when average field size was 33 runners, a reduced percentage of fallers was not recorded.

Further watering investments

To enable the Aintree team to deliver its commitment to producing the safest jumping ground possible, in addition to the £150,000 invested in 2011, a further £100,000 was invested after last year’s race in further improving the watering system to ensure Aintree continues to deliver the best possible ground for jumping.

Riderless horses

Following investments in 2009 to create bypassing lanes and a catching pen at Canal Turn, an additional catching pen has been created for this year in the region of fence four to assist in the catching of riderless horses and mitigate the risk of injury if running loose.

Parade

There are new arrangements for the parading runners in the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday (April 6) at Aintree.

In order to reduce the time that horses are saddled and mounted prior to the start, horses will not be sorted into racecard order on the course.

Instead, horses numbered 1-20 will be saddled in the pre-parade ring and horses 21 to 40 in the stables.

There will be Aintree and BHA personnel in the stables and pre-parade ring, assisting to place horses in number order.

This will hopefully mean that horses will enter the parade ring in number order, and then also leave the parade ring in number order. Once on the course, the parade will commence immediately.

Aintree has produced a joint submission in association with the Professional Jockey Association, which is detailed below.

This has been sent to all jockeys in the UK and made available to jockeys in Ireland, including amateurs.

The vital part our Jockeys play in the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National

This year, probably more than ever before, the eyes of the world will be focused on Aintree Racecourse when the tape rises for the start of the 2013 Grand National meeting at Aintree tomorrow.

Aintree Racecourse has consulted owners and trainers too and would now like to detail to jockeys just how vital their role is.

Facts which may surprise you

*An average of 53 per cent of all National falls and 28 per cent of unseats occur before Foinavon first time. That is one and a half minutes into a nine-minute plus race.

*In 2012, the slowest horse to the first fence was the close second Sunnyhillboy and the winner Neptune Collonges was 12th slowest.

*Sunnyhillboy was travelling five mph slower than the fastest horse to the first, Giles Cross.

*Little Josh was the fastest horse to the first in the Topham Chase, yet was travelling at the same speed as the slowest horse in the Grand National, Sunnyhillboy.

*All horses will be carrying speed tags as they did in 2012.

Course Changes

1. The fence frames have all changed from the wooden frames to EasyFix plastic birch dressed, as before with spruce. Open ditches are birch, dressed with spruce. This means that the fences are kinder if a horse makes a mistake.

2. The height and width of all fences is exactly as before so to all intents and purposes they are the same except, as we say, more horse friendly.

PLEASE NOTE:
New Grand National fences have been erected at David Pipe’s, Malton, Lambourn and the Curragh.

3. For the Grand National, the start has been moved forward 90 yards to create a quieter environment and hopefully reduce the tension for all concerned. The line will be well back from the tape and jockeys will be requested to line up at or on the line, prior to the starter starting the race.

4. Running rails have been realigned at Becher’s, Foinavon, and Canal Turn. There will be an additional catching pen at the fourth fence.

Jockeys should note that the shortest route from Becher’s to Foinavon and the Canal Turn is actually mid to outer.

5. One of the beauties of the Grand National course is the width and we encourage all jockeys to walk the course beforehand.

The Parade

The parade concept will change. Horses will not be required to sort themselves out into race card order in front of the stands.

Horses will instead be sorted into number order in the parade ring and this will be facilitated by horses 1-20 being saddled in the pre-parade ring and 21-40 in the stables.

Horses will then leave the parade ring in number order, turn left on to the course and commence the parade immediately. If any horse has lost its place, the parade will continue as is and any horse out of order will stay in the position found.

Horses then parade as normal, canter down to the first and then back behind the start line.

Welfare and other facts to remember

*Six hundred million people watch the race worldwide.

*It is an iconic sporting event and the most watched annual sporting event on TV

*The race is being run for the 166th time and is part of our heritage.

*It is racing’s shop window and we know jockeys do, and need to continue to, show the race great respect.

*Each and every participant – jockeys, trainers and owners – has a personal responsibility

*We know yours and your horse’s welfare is uppermost in your mind -please be aware of public perception.

*At the end of the race all unplaced horses must remain mounted until in the wash down area.

*At the start please respect the starter and his team. False starts – regardless of whose fault they are – suit nobody and create an appalling impression.

*Please remember: the early pace.

Pre-race Briefing

As last year, there will be briefing well before racing starts on Saturday and all jockeys riding in the Grand National will be required to attend.

We are all ambassadors for the race. We all need to savour the day and together you can do your profession and our sport proud.

As  ever, I’m indebted to Racenews for providing the above content

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