Grand National Festival: Dates, race times and tips for 2021 Aintree Meeting

All the key dates and times for Aintree's Grand National Festival.

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The Grand National is the showpiece of the Grand National Festival – a three-day racing spectacular at Aintree Racecourse held between Thursday April 8 and Saturday April 10.

A plethora of high-class hurdlers and chasers will feature in the 21 races – including nine Grade 1 contests – but the eyes of the world will be on the penultimate renewal of the meeting.

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The Grand National offers an unrivalled prize pot and the chance to go down in sporting folklore for the runner and rider first past the post. Tiger Roll has become one of the most beloved horses in history thanks to his daring and brave performances when winning the 2018 and 2019 renewals. Unfortunately, the Tiger will not be present in the big race this year after connections withdrew their superstar amid concerns over the handicap, although he will feature in the Aintree Bowl on the first day of racing. Therefore, we’ll have a new winner to get behind and the 2021 Grand National looks set to be competitive.

It’s not all about the Grand National, however, as Aintree’s other races provide another shot at success for owners, trainers and jockey as the end of the 2020/21 National Hunt season draws ever closer. All in all, it’s a welcome return for the Grand National Festival after bosses were forced to cancel last year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Grand National Festival 2021 Schedule

THURSDAY, APRIL 8

The Aintree Hurdle is the standout race on the opening day of the Grand National Festival which kicks off with four Grade 1s in a row. Paddy Power’s Ruby Walsh holds the record for most wins in the race as a jockey with five successes to his name. The likes of Abacadabras, Buveur D’Air and Silver Streak are all set to feature. The Aintree Bowl is another mouthwatering renewal to watch out for, with Tiger Roll set to take on the likes of Native River, Waiting Patiently and Clan Des Obeaux. We also get our first look at Aintree’s iconic fences in the Foxhunters Chase.

13.45 – The Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) – 2m 4f
14.20 – The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m 1f
14.50 – The Bowl Steeple Chase (Grade 1) – 3m 1f
15.25 – The Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m 4f
16.05 – The Rose Paterson Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase (Class 2) – 2m 5f
16.40 – The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3) – 2m
17.15 – The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) – 2m 1f

FRIDAY, APRIL 9

The second day at Aintree features the Melling Chase as the highlight of the card – the 2m 4f contest features the likes of Politologue, Dashel Drasher and Fakir D’Oudairies. The Topham Handicap Chase presents punters with another look at the Aintree fences.

13.45 – The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – 2m 4f
14.20 – The Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m ½f
14.50 – The Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) – 3m 1f
15.25 – The Marsh Steeple Chase (Registered as the Melling) (Grade 1) – 2m 4f
16.05 – The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3) – 2m 5f
16.40 – The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – 3m ½f
17.15 – The Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (cond’ and amat’) (Class 2) – 2m 1f

SATURDAY, APRIL 10

The race we’ve all been waiting for, the Grand National, is the penultimate renewal on day three’s card, which boasts three Grade 1 contests. Don’t forget, Paddy Power are paying SIX places on the 2021 Grand National. We’ll also get to see Paisley Park and Thyme Hill renew their rivalry in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

13.45 – The Bridle Road Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – 3m ½f
14.25 – The Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m 4f
15.00 – The Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) – 2m
15.40 – The Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle (Registered as the Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) – 3m ½f
16.20 – The Handicap Steeple Chase (Listed) – 3m 1f
17.15 – The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase (Grade 3) – 4m 2½f
18.20 – The Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) – 2m 1f

Grand National Festival Day Three Tips From Ruby Walsh

13.45 – SOUTHFIELD HARVEST

14.25 – BALLYADAM

15.00 –  SHISHKIN

15.35 –  THYME HILL

16.15 – SNOW LEOPARDESS

17.15 –  BURROWS SAINT

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