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2017 Grand National – What You Need to Know

The legendary Grand National at Aintree offers a thrilling combination of equine prowess and human endeavour to create the world's greatest horse racing event. This year, the 170th Grand National takes place on Saturday 8th April, with the race getting underway at 5.15pm. An estimated 600 million people will be watching live on television or cheering on the contenders at the event.

The race is part of the three-day Randox Health Grand National Festival, which opens on Thursday 6th April at 11am. Ladies' Day takes place on 7th April from 10.30am, while the gates open at 10am on 8th April for the grand finale of the Aintree meet.

Runners and riders

A total of 40 runners should start the race, with the bookies' clear favourite being Vieux Lion Rouge - from David Pipe's stable and with experienced jockey, Tom Scudamore. The horse, described by Pipe as "coming alive on the spring ground", has already won the Becher Chase and the Grand National Trial.

The second favourite, Definitly Red, is the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase and Grimthorpe Chase winner - from trainer Brian Ellison's north Yorkshire stable. He will be ridden by Rowland Meyrick-winning jockey, Danny Cook.

Making up the top five horses are Blaklion, One For Arthur and The Last Samurai. Leading jockey Noel Fehily is riding Blaklion, a winner at Cheltenham Festival and Gloucestershire's leading Grand National racehorse for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Despite the fact that he is still recovering from a broken collarbone and wrist, Jockey Derek Fox is confident he'll be fit to ride One For Arthur -trained by Lucinda Russell and a winner at Warwick in January. The Last Samurai returns after finishing second to Rule The World in 2016. Trainer Kim Bailey feels he has a good chance of winning this year with jockey David Bass.

Outsiders include Just A Par, a 10-year-old gelding from Paul Nicholls' yard. At 50-1, he finished 15th at last year's event over soft ground – this was blamed for his disappointing run. He's due to be sold so may be running in new colours for the Grand National.

Royal connection

Her Majesty the Queen is a well-known horse-racing fan and the royal family has a long connection with the Grand National. In 1956, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's horse, Devon Loch, ridden by Dick Francis, was leading the race and looked set for a historic win when he fell on the final straight.

The Queen, who has been a frequent spectator at the spectacular event in past years, doesn't have a horse running in this year's National, although the Royal connection has been handed down to younger generations. Monbeg Dude, owned and trained by the Queen's grand-daughter, Zara Phillips, came third in the 2015 race. He has now been retired.

All roads lead to Aintree

The journey to Aintree for the world's most famous horse race is filled with excitement and anticipation as horses, owners, trainers, jockeys and spectators make their way to the course; located on the A59, one mile from the M57 and M58 motorways. Safe and comfortable transport for the horses is crucial to ensure they arrive at the race course in peak condition, physically and mentally.

Coruba specialises in high-quality horsebox rubber matting and stable rubber matting products; which are hard-wearing, shock absorbent, non-slip and waterproof. Reliably durable, our horsebox partition rubber skirt is available in several thicknesses and is designed to partition off areas of horseboxes when required - such as when transporting excitable horses that are heading for the Big Race! Horses can be loaded into the horse box with our animal transporter ramp mats. Non-slip and resilient, they are specially designed for inclined ramps.

The countdown has begun and in just over a week, the biggest horse race in the world will be under starters orders. Who will you be cheering on?

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