The Randox Health Grand National Festival consists of three days of great sporting action at Aintree Racecourse with the eyes of the world fixed firmly on what is happening.
Over £3.2 million in prize money is on offer over the 21 races.
ORDER OF RUNNING
Each day of the festival has one race over the Grand National Course, with the six other contests taking place on the separate Mildmay Course, which consists of ordinary fences, and the Hurdle & Flat Courses.
GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY – THURSDAY 4TH APRIL
|TIME||RACE||DISTANCE||PRIZE MONEY 2019|
|1.45pm||Manifesto Novices’ Chase (G1)||2m 3f 200y||£100, 000|
|2.20pm||Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (G1)||2m 209y||£100, 000|
|2.50pm||Betway Bowl Chase (G1)||3m 210y||£190,000|
|3.25pm||Betway Aintree Hurdle (G1)||2m 4f||£250,000|
|4.05pm||Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase GNC||2m 5f 19y||£45,000|
|4.40pm||Red Rum Handicap Chase (G3)||1m 7f 176y||£90,000|
|5.15pm||Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NHF Race (G2)||2m 209y||£45,000|
|TOTAL ON THE DAY||£820,000|
Grand National Thursday offers a great way to experience the Randox Health Grand National Festival for the first time and kick-starts the action with four Grade One races (G1) – a feast of top-class horseracing action. It is only one of three racedays during the entire British Jump season to offer four G1 contests, and another is on the following afternoon – Ladies Day.
From 1977 onwards, when the Randox Health Grand National Festival became an all-Jump meeting, Grand National Thursday – the first day of the three-day festival – has developed an outstanding programme of racing action, a true Day for Champions.
The G1 chase action on Grand National Thursday is headlined by the £190,000 Betway Bowl, staged over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay Course. The fabulous roll of honour boasts the names of some of the very best chasers of the modern era with Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid, See More Business, Florida Pearl, Siliviniaco Conti and Cue Card all having been successful.
Lizzie Kelly created history in 2017 when becoming the first female jockey to win the Betway Bowl aboard Tea For Two, while there was a super talented first three home last year, with Might Bite beating Bristol De Mai and Clan Des Obeaux.
The G1 Aintree Hurdle, worth £250,000, moved to Grand National Thursday in 2013, having previously been on Grand National Day. The race is the only British G1 open hurdle run over the distance of two and a half miles. First staged in 1975, it has proved to be the perfect follow-up for horses who have won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
In 2017, Buveur D’Air joined great performers Annie Power, Jezki, Istabraq, Morley Street, Beech Road, Dawn Run, Gaye Brief, Monksfield, Night Nurse and Comedy Of Errors by winning both the Champion Hurdle and the Betway Aintree Hurdle. Often regarded as the greatest hurdle race of all-time, the 1977 renewal of the Betway Aintree Hurdle saw a dead-heat between Monksfield and Night Nurse, both dual winners of the Champion Hurdle.
The G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-YO Juvenile Hurdle, with £100,000 of prize money, over two miles and a furlong is the natural next target for horses who competed in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. De Du Seuil in 2017 followed in the footsteps of Pollardstown, Detroit City, Katchit and Zarkandar by winning both the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle. Last year, the Cheltenham fourth and favourite, the Nicky Henderson-trained Apple’s Shikara was also sent off the market leader at Aintree, only for stable companion We Have Dream to succeed.
The £100,000 Manifesto Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles is the other G1 on Grand National Thursday.
Racegoers also get an opportunity to see racing over the Grand National fences for the first time at the meeting, with the two mile, five furlong Randox Health Fox Hunters’ Chase taking place on Grand National Thursday. Restricted to horses who have run in point-to- points and hunter chases and ridden by amateur riders, the Randox Health Fox Hunters’ Chase is a good race for multiple winners, with Katarino (2005 & 2006) and On The Fringe (2015 & 2016) both having scored twice since the turn of the century. The 2017 runner-up Balnaslow returned last year to triumph.
Ultra-competitive handicap action comes courtesy of the two-mile G3 Betway Red Rum Handicap Chase, which commemorates the legendary three-time Grand National winner Red Rum.
LADIES DAY – FRIDAY 5TH APRIL
PRIZE MONEY 2019
Merseyrail Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (G3)
Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (G1)
Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (G1)
LT Chase (G1) (registered as the Melling Chase)
2m 3f 200y
Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (G3) GNC
2m 5f 19y
Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (G1)
Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open NHF Race (G2)
TOTAL ON THE DAY
The middle day of this world-renowned Festival is the stylish and glamorous Ladies Day, first offcially established at Aintree Racecourse in the early 2000s.
Another four G1 races, supported by a G2 and two G3 contests, means the racing programme is of the highest-possible class.
The G1 races are the £100,000 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (2m 1f), the £100,000 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (3m 1f) £100,000, the £250,000 JLT Melling Chase (2m 4f) and the £100,000 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (3m 1f).
The Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle went to Lalor last year and was won by subsequent dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air in 2016, while Native River (2016) and Might Bite (2017) were successful in the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase and then fought out the finish to the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Politologue, Fox Norton and God’s Own have been the last three winners of the JLT Melling Chase, while such greats as Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded and Moscow Flyer feature on the roll of honour.
Thistlecrack triumphed in the 2015 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle and the talented Santini was successful in 2018.
The Randox Health Topham Chase is run over the Grand National fences and the Colin Tizzard-trained Ultragold, partnered both times by Harry Cobden, became the latest dual winner in 2018 after a first victory the year before.
GRAND NATIONAL DAY – SATURDAY 6th APRIL
PRIZE MONEY 2019
Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (G3)
Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (G1)
Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (G1)
1m 7f 176y
Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle (G1) (registered as the Liverpool Hurdle)
Betway Handicap Chase (G3)
Randox Health Grand National (G3) (Handicap Chase) GNC
4m 2f 74y
Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys & Amateur Riders)
TOTAL ON THE DAY
The final day is a national treasure, Grand National Day where, for between nine and 10 minutes, the nation stops and is enthralled by the unfolding drama of the most famous chase in the world.
Grand National Day provides excitement and anticipation in abundance as the build-up gradually develops towards the Randox Health Grand National, staged for the 172nd time at Aintree.
Grand National Day has sold out well in advance in recent years so early booking is a necessity.
Tickets and hospitality packages for the 2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival are available to purchase through www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/aintree