A look at the biggest races at the Grand National meeting
The Grand National is one race that everybody looks forward to year-after-year. Horse racing fanatics or not, hundreds of millions crowd around their television sets to watch the four and a quarter mile race, whilst in a normal year, around 50,000 people would head to Aintree Racecourse on the outskirts of Liverpool on raceday. Of course, this time around, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the TV coverage will have to do for everyone.
However, whilst everyone fantasises over landing a winning in the showstopper and vigorously examines the best Grand National odds from Paddy Power to give them the best chance of doing so, the three-day festival has plenty more to offer. In fact, there are several big races scattered across the meeting. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of them.
The Betway Bowl
The Betway Bowl is the day one feature race, which this year falls on April 8th and will be known officially as Liverpool’s NHS Day in honour of medical staff across the nation. The Grade 1 outing is often littered with Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders from the month prior, and it looks like the Cheltenham showpiece runner-up A Plus Tard will be competing in the race this year for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the three-mile, one-furlong race with four winners, including dual success with Silviniaco Conti in 2014 and 2015.
The Aintree Hurdle
The Aintree Hurdle is the fourth and final Grade 1 outing of the opening day of the meeting. Run over two miles and four furlongs, there is a total purse of £250,000 up for grabs. Supasundae, ridden by Robbie Power and trained by Jessica Harrington, was the winner in 2019, when he beat Buveur D’Air over the line. Ruby Walsh boasts the most winning rides by any jockey since the race’s maiden in run in 1976 with five victories, the most recent was with Annie Power in 2016.
The Melling Chase
Day two of the meeting, otherwise famously known as Ladies’ Day, is topped by the JLT Chase, or what is traditionally called the Melling Chase. The Grade 1 outing attracts the best horses from Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase and Queen Mother Champion Chase. Lostintranslation, who won the Champion Chase at Prestbury Park last year, won the latest edition of the race in 2019. The other Grade 1 races on day two include the Mildmay Novices’ Chase and the Top Novices’ Hurdle, where we can get a glimpse of any stars in the making.
The Grand National
Day three is headlined by the festival’s showpiece race, and it needs little introduction. The Grand National is the reason we are all here in the first place. Run over a whopping four miles and 30 fences, it is one of the hardest races in the world to win, let alone complete. With no Tiger Roll running this year, the race is open to a new winner for the first time in four years. Cloth Cap is the current favourite. However, it will take a real test of jockey and horse if they want to prevail on their market leader status.