The Randox Grand National has a new start time this year of 4pm as part of a series of changes designed to make the April spectacular at Aintree as safe as possible.
The race has been brought forward 75 minutes, since previous orders were for 5:15 p.m., while a reduced grid of 34 people will also be introduced.
Last year’s race was delayed due to Grand National protesters entering the track, with the competition eventually starting almost 15 minutes later than scheduled.
Following the race’s annual review, a number of changes were announced last October, including a reduction in the size of the field, the introduction of a standing start and the moving of the first fence closer to the start line.
It had been agreed that an earlier start could help ensure the safest ground conditions, but further discussions were needed before a new time was agreed.
Sulekha Varma, Jockey Club North West Racing Director and Race Director at Aintree, said: “We spare no effort to provide world-class welfare standards for our participants and carry out a review after each Grand National.
“These reviews look at a wide range of factors and learnings from the process drive a number of changes, big and small, annually. In October we announced that one of the changes coming from 2024 would involve moving up the race start time, which since 2016 is at 5:15 p.m.
“This was a decision we made after several participants and other race stakeholders expressed concerns about the race’s lengthy preparation throughout the day and, as a result, increased tension. These were not issues that had been raised. identified as a problem when The race was previously held at 3:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
“Moving the Grand National start time forward by 75 minutes to 4pm will also help us maintain optimal jumping terrain, as hot or breezy conditions can dry out the racing surface.”
Defending champion Corach Rambler leads 94 entries
Last year’s hero Corach Rambler leads the ante-post betting for Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell, and another previous winner, Noble Yeats, trained by Emmet Mullins, is also likely to be popular.
Irish coaches are responsible for a record 61 entries out of the total 94 received for this year’s National.
Those with previous good form over fences booked to return to Merseyside include the likes of Vanillier, who was second last year, and Becher Chase runner-up Coko Beach.
He is one of Gordon Elliott’s 26 squad which also includes Conflated and Samcro, while Willie Mullins is responsible for 13, with Cotswold Chase winner Capodanno and Irish national hero I Am Maximus part of his team , although Gaillard Du Mesnil does not. .
Other standouts on previous lists include John McConnell’s Mahler Mission, the Martin Brassil-trained Panda Boy and the King George winner Hewick, from the Shark Hanlon yard.
Monbeg Genius, Nassalam, Kitty’s Light and Galia Des Liteaux are among the top prospects coming from English yards. The weights will be revealed in a fortnight in Liverpool.