Grand National 2017: When is it, who are the runners and what are the latest odds?

Telegraph Sport
 The Last Samuri ridden by David Bass, Vics Canvas ridden by Robert Dunne and Rule the World ridden by David Mullins during the 2016 Grand National - PA Wire

What is it? 

Aintree's Grand National is the most popular jumps race on the calendar as 40 runners take on the daunting obstacle of 30 fences over the course of four and a half miles. 

When is it?

The horses will go to post at 5.15pm on Saturday 8th April. With Saracens vs Harlequins at Wembley, another round of Premier League football and the third round of The Masters, it looks a mouth-watering day of sport. 

Where is it?

As always, Aintree, which has hosted the race since 1839. The racecourse is situated approximately six miles outside of Liverpool. 

What TV channel is it on? 

The National is on ITV for the first time this year after they won the broadcasting rights to show racing. Ed Chamberlain is their presenter, a familiar face and voice for any football fans out there.

Which horses are running?

The final field of 40 runners is yet to be selected. 110 horses entered the race this year, and they were all assigned a weight by the British Horse Racing Authority Head of Handicapping.

ITV's new horse racing team included Ed Chamberlain and AP McCoy Credit: Getty Images

The handicap system is simpler than it sounds, and is designed to create as close a race as possible. The better horses carry the most weight while the outsiders carry the least. Each horse has an OR (official rating) and this will largely determine the weight they carry. The maximum for this year's National is 11st 10lbs and the minimum is 10st. In theory, the handicap system aims to create a dead heat but this cannot happen in practice. 

The weights for this year's race were released on Valentine's Day and the horses listed in descending order from most weight to least. Between now and raceday, owners and trainers will have the chance to withdraw entries if they are unhappy with the weight allocated or do not feel they are ready to go this course and distance. Michael O'Leary is one owner who has already with drawn several horses, such as Don Poli. 

Don Poli is one horse who has been pulled out of the race Credit: PA

On the Thursday and Friday before the National, the final field on the top 40 horses remaining will be completed along with four reserves. Got all that? 

Runners leading the betting currently who should be good to go include Vieux Lion Rouge, Blaklion, The Last Samuri, Definitely Red and Carlingford Lough. 

What are the odds? 

Due to the fact the final field has not been selected, bookmakers are currently offering 'Ante Post' odds on remaining entrants. Ante Post simply means any time before the field is finalised (usually the day before the race). 

Bear in mind that if you have an Ante Post bet and your horse is subsequently withdrawn you are not eligible to get your money back. 

What are some of the famous fences? 

The Aintree fences are not quite as perilous as they were once upon a time after a series of alterations. However, they are still the most notorious obstacles in the business and enough to make the palms of any jockey sweat. 

Becher's Brook: The sixth and 22nd fence in the race may not be the biggest, but it's difficulty comes from the fact the landing side is 10 inches lower than the take off side. Named after Captain Martin Becher, a jockey who fell at this stage and hid in the brook to avoid injury. 

Becher's Brook in 1969 Credit: PA

Valentine's Brook: Named after a horse that allegedly jumped it backwards in 1840. More likely, the horse spun around in mid-air to create the optical illusion that its hind legs landed first. 

The Chair:The tallest fence on the course now stands a five foot three inches. 

Foinavon: One of the smaller fences is named after the 100/1 shot who avoided a disastrous pile-up here in 1967 and went on to win. 

Canal Turn: As the name suggests, horses must take a sharp turn to the left after jumping this five foot obstacle. Another Aintree myth is that horses used who refused to turn ended up in the Liverpool and Leeds canal. 

Are there tickets left? 

There are some £27 tickets left in the Steeplechase enclosure via the official Grand National website. All other enclosures and stands are sold out. 

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