Grand National Thursday – Opening Day
The three-day Aintree Grand National Festival gets going each year on a Thursday, with plenty of high-class jumps racing in store and racegoers set for a real treat.
Despite the crowds being smaller than on Grand National day, it remains a hugely popular day on the jumps racing calendar. The Aintree racecourse can expect around 35,000 people to come through the turnstiles and, outside the Cheltenham Festival, this is one of the most popular racing days for jumps racing fans. The racing gets going on Merseyside at 1:45pm and, with seven top-class races to enjoy, the Thursday card always attracts runners from National Hunt yards from both the UK and Ireland.
When is Grand National Thursday?
The date of the Aintree Grand National Meeting can often vary and this is mainly due when Easter falls each year. In 2024 the three-day meeting will begin on Thursday 11th April 2024. With the 2024 Cheltenham Festival finishing on Friday 15th March, and the opening day of the 2024 Aintree Festival on 11th April, there’s nearly a month between the two. This gives horses that would have raced at Cheltenham an extra week to recover when compared to 2022, so it remains to be seen whether more top horses will run at both these big festivals in 2024.
|Grand National Start Times||Watch||Race||Distance||Prize Money £|
|1:45pm||Watch at Paddy Power||Manifesto Novices’ Chase||2m 4f||120,000|
|2:20pm||Watch at Unibet||Jewson Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle||2m 1f||110,000|
|2:55pm||Watch at William Hill||Aintree Bowl Chase||3m 1f||250,000|
|3:30pm||Watch at Betfair||William Hill Aintree Hurdle||2m 4f||250,000|
|4:05pm||Watch at Unibet||Randox Foxhunters’ Chase||2m 5f||50,000|
|4:40pm||Watch at William Hill||Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase||2m||100,000|
|5:15pm||Watch at Paddy Power||Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat||2m 1f||50,000|
Why go to Grand National Thursday?
Quite simply, Grand National Thursday is a chance to see top class racing at relatively affordable prices.
Four Grade One races, with the anticipation of the Grand National itself at fever pitch creates a wonderful day at the races at around half the cost you’d be paying to attend on the Saturday.
Sporting heroes from the area may also be present, with stars like Michael Owen, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Sharp and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek ready to mingle with the Aintree racegoers. Some say this is the best day on the UK Jumps Racing calendar, offering four grade one races.
Grand National Thursday race times & running order
- 1.45pm – The Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 1; 2m 4f
- 2.20pm – The Jewson Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 1; 2m 1f
- 2.55pm – The Aintree Bowl Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 1; 3m 1f
- 3.30pm – The William Hill Aintree Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 1; 2m 4f
- 4.05pm – The Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase; 2m 5f
- 4.40pm – The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 3; 2m
- 5.15pm – The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2); 2m 1f