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Grand National Beginner's Guide

In-depth FAQ including how to get tickets, getting to Aintree Racecourse, and the dress code for Ladies Day

What is the Grand National?

The Grand National is the world’s most famous horse race, watched by an estimated 600 million people worldwide, which takes place at Aintree every year in April. The winners collect £1m in prize money.

What date is the Grand National?

The 2018 Grand National will take place on Saturday 14th April.

What time is the Grand National?

The 2018 Grand National will take place at 5.15pm (17:15 GMT).

How many fences are jumped in the Grand National?

There are 16 jumps on the unique Grand National Course, however thirty fences are jumped in total as the field completes two laps of the track (missing out The Chair and the Water Jump on the second circuit). Find out more on our The Course page.

How far is the Grand National?

Until recently the Grand National was run over four and a half miles, however the race is now run over just longer than four and a quarter miles after the distance to the first fence was reduced in a bid to improve safety.

How many runners are in the Grand National?

The maximum number of runners is 40, however the smallest field was in 1883 when just 10 faced the starter, and the largest was in 1929 when 66 horses lined up.

Who won the Grand National 2016?

The 2016 Grand National was won by Rule The World, trained in Ireland by Mouse Morris for owner Gigginstown Stud and ridden on the big day by young jockey David Mullins. Rule The World was sent off at odds of 33/1 and won by six lengths from the 8/1 favourite Last Samuri as he became the first maiden (a horse that hasn’t won a race) to win the Grand National since 1884, with Vics Canvas and Gilgamboa filling third and fourth place respectively. For a comprehensive guide to previous winners of the Grand National, check out our Past Grand National Winners page.

When is Aintree Ladies Day?

The 2018 Grand National is the feature race of Aintree’s Grand National Festival and takes place on the final afternoon of the three-day meeting. The racing begins on Thursday – otherwise known as Grand Opening Day – while Friday is Ladies Day.

What do I wear to Aintree Grand National?

Although there is no official dress code, smart is preferable. Aintree is a spectacle of colour especially on Ladies Day, with many using their trip as an opportunity to showcase their favourite raceday outfits. Hats are optional too, but are frequently worn, however sports clothes and fancy dresses are not permitted for the Grand National meeting.

How do I place a bet on the Grand National?

If you are at the racecourse, you can bet on the Tote, with the on-course bookmakers (bookies) or in the betting shops. With the tote, you're not betting against a bookie; your stake goes into a pool, and like the lottery, your win depends on how many other winning tickets there are.

The on-course bookmakers are all different and it's worth shopping around for the best odds on each race. You can usually find them in front of the grandstand or by the rails.

There are also standard betting shops at various locations in the grounds. They'll accept bets on the races and on any other events.

Placing your Grand National bets online via a desktop site or mobile app? Make sure you visit our Free Bets page to take advantage of the best sign-up offers from our betting partners or download the Timeform App and place your bets.

What types of bet can I do on the Grand National?

The two main types of bet are win-only and each-way. For win-only, your horse needs to win the race outright.

An each-way bet is effectively two bets – one for your horse to win and one for it to be placed (1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th). So a £5 each-way bet will cost £10.

How to pick the winner of the Grand National?

Everyone has a chance of betting on the winner of the Grand National and almost half of those who bet on the Grand National will choose their horse by its name. Make sure you keep a close eye on our Tips page for expert advice and our Grand National predictor, or head over to our Runners page for the verdict on the major contenders!

Where can I watch the Grand National?

ITV have the terrestrial television rights For the Grand National, having signed a four-year deal to become the exclusive terrestrial broadcast partner for British racing from 2018. Subscribers to Racing UK will also be able to watch the Grand National.

If you sign up with one of our partners - BetVictor, Betfair, Coral, William Hill, 888 Sport, Betway, Paddy Power, 10Bet - and place a bet on the Grand National in the day of race market, you will be able to watch a live stream of the race on their website or mobile app. T&Cs apply.

How do I get a free bet on the Grand National?

Visit our Free Bets page for the latest offers.

How do I get to Aintree?

By train: the nearest mainline station to Aintree is Liverpool Lime Street. Liverpool Central Station is just a short walk from Lime Street, where you can catch a train to Aintree. Aintree Station is directly opposite the racecourse, where regular trains run during the Grand National meeting.

Grand National National Rail Planner

By car: Aintree Racecourse is located on the A59, just one mile from the M57 and M58, which link the M62 and M6. Follow the A59 to Liverpool and the AA/tourism signs as you approach the racecourse for routes to the car parks.

Grand National AA Route Planner

The address for Aintree Racecourse is:

Aintree Racecourse,
Ormskirk Rd
Liverpool
Merseyside
L9 5AS

Where to stay for the Grand National?

Aintree is just five miles from Liverpool and the bustling city, named a European Capital of Culture in 2008, has a wide range of hotels to suit every budget.

Looking for somewhere to stay for the Grand National? Want the best deal on a hotel? Check out our list of top hotels and book today.

Booking.com

How do I get tickets for the Grand National?

Tickets for the Aintree Grand National Festival can be ordered online from the Aintree Racecourse website or the Randox Health Grand National website, or you can order by phone - 0344 579 3001

What’s the Going at Aintree?

The ‘Going’ is an important consideration when looking for the winner of the Grand National. The official description of the ground conditions for the Grand National at Aintree can be found on the BHA website.

Latest Going Report