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Everything you need to know about the Opening Day of Aintree Races

2 days ago

The Grand National is finally here.

And it’s that time of the year when, with literally just hours to go before the start of one of the world’s greatest race meetings, we couldn’t get any more excited.

The starting gun is about to be fired on the Randox Grand National Festival 2024 and with all eyes on Merseyside, here’s everything you need to know about the opening day.

First things first – where does the Randox Grand National take place?

It’s held – of course – at the famous Aintree Racecourse, which has hosted the Grand National Festival since 1839.

When is the opening day?

The opening day is tomorrow, Thursday, April 11.

What time do gates open?

Ladies Day
Ladies Day – Aintree – Grand National 2023

You don’t have to wait long to start your racing fun because gates open at 11am. 

First day fever

It might not get the biggest crowds but the opening day is still popular with loads of people, because you get all the glamour and thrill of the races but it’s the most laid back and relaxed day of the festival.

Full race card

There’s a full racing schedule which starts at 1. 45pm with The Close Brothers Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase. A total of seven races will take place on the opening day so you’re guaranteed a great run for your money, and the last race – The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat – starts at 5.15pm.

More than just racing

Yes there’s the world class racing, but the Randox Grand National is about even more than what’s going on on the track. There will be live music and entertainment to get things off to a great start at Aintree, with action at eight different sites across the popular racecourse.

The main Red Rum Garden Stage, which has undergone a massive transformation ahead of this year’s event with more cover, better views and an extended bar space, will be home for the day for DJs including Khaleel Smith, Phil Binks and Sam Edwards, as well as Mirror Men, Disco Ball Heads and Jonny Crane on sax.

Elsewhere, as well as a string quartet, there’ll be music from Fat Cats, Toni James Band, and Merseybelles.

Can I still get a ticket?

Demand is high but with the opening day being the least busy of all three days, if you’re quick you can still get a ticket for most areas, with prices from ÂŁ35 for adults seeking a space in the Festival Zone. 

Get tickets here.

How do I get there?

Racegoers arriving at Aintree Station 2019
Racegoers arriving at Aintree Station 2019

With so many heading to Aintree over all three days, you need to make getting there as simple as possible, and that’s where Merseyrail comes into its own. Aintree station is just a two-minute walk across the road from the racecourse and there’ll be extra trains running to make sure it all goes smoothly. 

Merseyrail’s running a special timetable for The Randox Grand National 2024 Festival, with a seven-and-a-half-minute frequency of service running between Liverpool City Centre and Aintree station before the start and after the finish of the races on each day of the festival.

Trains on the Merseyrail Northern line will run to a slightly amended timetable to provide the best possible service to those attending the iconic event. Travellers need to check the journey planner on Merseyrail’s website or app for up-to-date departure times before travelling. 

On all three days, a seven-and-a-half-minute service will run between Aintree and Liverpool Central/Moorfields stations at the following times:

Liverpool city centre to Aintree, from approximately 11:00 – 13:00 (before the races)

Aintree to Liverpool city centre, from approximately 16:30 – 20:30 (after the races)

A 15-minute service will run at all other times.

For all the latest Grand National at Aintree news keep following The Guide Liverpool. 

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