Grand National 2023: Race dates and start time, what horses are running and latest odds
The Grand National, the most highly-anticipated race on the British calendar, is back. The best-known steeplechase in the world features 40 runners tackling Aintree's 30 Grand National fences over the course of four miles, 2½ furlongs.
The longlist of potential entrants has been announced and the weights carried by each horse declared, with Any Second Now, Conflated and Hewick all given the top-weight of 11st 12lb.
This year, race-goers at Aintree on Grand National day will be encouraged to join a minute's applause, in memory of the Liverpool supporters killed at Hillsborough in 1989. In 2023, the 34th anniversary of the disaster falls on the same day as the horse race.
Jockey Club regional director Dickon White said: "It seems only right that we will take some time to remember the 97 people who tragically lost their life that day."
Here is everything else you need to know about this year's race.
When is the 2023 Grand National?
The Grand National is the world's most famous steeplechase, and the highlight of Aintree's three-day Grand National Festival which this year runs from Thursday, April 13 to Saturday, April 15. The main event, the Grand National itself, is on the Saturday afternoon.
What time does the race start?
The runners will go to post for 5.15pm, the traditional tea-time slot. The National itself is the sixth of seven races at Aintree that day. At just under four and a half miles it is easily the longest race of the whole three-day meeting.
Where is the 2023 Grand National?
The meeting takes place at Aintree Racecourse, six miles outside of Liverpool. Aintree has hosted the race since the very first edition, in 1839.
How can I watch the race? What TV channel is it on?
The Festival usually welcomes more than 150,000 racing fans. Live television coverage is on ITV and Racing TV.
How does the handicapping system work?
As a handicap race, the Grand National offers the opportunity for slightly less-fancied horses to compete on a more even playing field. The handicapping formula, as determined by the British Horseracing Authority, means that the lower-rated horses are carrying a few pounds less weight than the higher-rated contenders.
The bare minimum that a horse is permitted to carry is 10st (including the jockey). The joint top-weighted horses – Any Second Now, Conflated and Hewick – are carrying 11st 12lb, with the rest of the handicap weights worked out from this top weight. In 2015 Many Clouds won carrying 11st 9oz, the heaviest handicap for a winner in recent history. Last year's winner, Noble Yeats, carried just 10st 10oz. The last horse to win carrying the top weight was Red Rum in 1973, when the top handicap was set at 12st.
The weights for this year's race were announced on February 21.
What is the weather forecast?
This far out, the weather is impossible to predict accurately. But given the mid-April date of the race, it's a fair bet that the weather in the North West of England will be changeable. Last year, course officials chose to water the course the evening before the race, after a short dry spell. Amid light scattered showers, the race itself was run in fine overhead conditions with the going rated as good to soft.
Are Grand National tickets available?
Tickets for some areas of Aintree on Saturday have already sold out but, as of mid March, there are still tickets available, ranging in price from £40 for a child ticket in the 'Festival Zone' to £85 for adults. Hospitality tickets are also available, ranging in price from £405 to £1,095. Car parking is an additional £30. All tickets are available on the racecourse's official website: www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
Which horses are running in the 2023 Grand National?
The 40-runner line-up has not yet been confirmed. The longlist of runners is here. Nearer the date of the race we will publish the official 40 entries, plus our sweepstake kit.
How are horses picked for the Grand National?
Only a certain number of horses meet the critera for being allowed to race at the Grand National. Among the qualifications they must:
have an Official Rating (OR) of 125 or more,
be aged 7 or older,
have completed three or more steeplechases,
have completed one steeplechase in the current season,
have finished between 1st and 4th in a steeplechase over 2 miles 7½ furlongs or further.
What is the latest Grand National news?
Trainer Ted Walsh "absolutely shocked" after Any Second Now was given joint top-weight for this year's Grand National.
The 11-year-old has finished third and second in the last two renewals and will bid to make it third time lucky under the welter burden of 11st 12lb.
Walsh memorably teamed up with his son Ruby to claim Grand National glory with Papillon in 2000, but feels Any Second Now would need to be an "exceptional horse" to add his name to the roll of honour.
"I'm absolutely shocked that he has top-weight. He goes there in as good form as he did last year. He is in as good nick as he was last year, but he's got top-weight so make your own mind up," he said.
Any Second Now is joined at the head of the weights by Gordon Elliott's 2022 Irish Gold Cup victor Conflated and Shark Hanlon's American Grand National hero Hewick, both of whom are first bound for March's Cheltenham Gold Cup.
As far as spectators are concerned, the biggest change for this year is that the dress code for Aintree has been dropped. The Jockey Club, which owns Aintree, wants to make racing more accessible and has therefore decided to permit racegoers to come in whatever clothes they feel most comfortable.
In the past, racing’s rules have required men to wear suit jackets in certain enclosures, even during heatwaves, with jeans and shorts often frowned upon. Now, however, the only banned clothing is "offensive fancy dress" and football shirts.
Telegraph racing columnist Charlie Brooks says the removal of the dress code is long overdue.
What are the latest Grand National winner odds?
Betting on a horse to win a race before you even know that the horse will be in the race is obviously highly speculative. However most long-range punters putting their money on last year's winner, Noble Yeats, who went off in 2022 at 50-1. The current favourites are:
Noble Yeats 11/1
Corach Rambler 8/1
Mr Incredible 14/1
Delta Work 14/1
Any Second Now 16/1
Gaillard Du Mesnil 10/1
You can also view the full list of potential runners and their odds for the 2023 Grand National.
What are some of the famous Grand National fences?
The Aintree fences are not as perilous as they once were. However, they are still the most notorious obstacles in the business.
Becher's Brook: The sixth and 22nd fence in the race may not be the biggest, but its 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 in the first running of the race in 1839 and hid in the brook to avoid injury.
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 at five foot two 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.
This article has been updated with the latest information for the Grand National 2023.
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