Rachael-factor contributing to record demands for Aintree tickets

Last Updated 2 Feb 2022 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

Some form of normality is being predicted for the Aintree Grand National this year with the prize-fund boosted and a bumper crowd likely to descend on Merseyside.

The Randox Grand National on April 9th is returning to its pre-pandemic value of £1 million, the racecourse has revealed, while a higher demand for tickets ‘than ever before’ is being reported.

Prize money back up

The National was worth £750,000 last spring when Minella Times won the prize for trainer Henry De Bromhead, rider Rachael Blackmore and owner JP McManus on an historic afternoon for horse racing.

The Irish jockey became the first female ever to ride the winner of the Aintree spectacular in what was a sublime couple of months for her personally, after she was also crowned leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Jockey Club north-west regional director Dickon White has confirmed the prize money in 2022 will return to its pre-pandemic levels – with the overall lure of Aintree’s three-day festival appealing to all.

“We’re delighted that we’re putting the race back to £1m, with Randox’s support,” he said.

“The prize-money level across the three days is incredibly important to us. We want to reward the best horses to come and run at Aintree.”

Packed grandstands once more

With Covid-restrictions eased in England – and the likelihood of any turnaround seemingly decreasing – Aintree is preparing for a full house attendance of 70,000 on April 9th.

The lack of sporting action during the pandemic could be one contributing factor – with last year’s Grand National run behind closed doors – but White admits one name is probably responsible for the increased ticket enquires more than most.

“The demand for admission tickets and for hospitality is higher than it’s ever been before,” White said. “That is possibly in part down to the Rachael Blackmore-factor, after her win last year.”

Public health remains a key factor under consideration for the Grand National’s organisers and White says every angle will be covered – whilst promising to provide a safe and enjoyable race-day experience for those lucky enough to make it to Aintree for what will be the first Grand National with crowds since Tiger Roll won in 2019.

“We’re really thrilled with the interest in people coming to attend and we’re planning towards a full crowd but we are in constant discussions with our local authority and our director of public health about the Covid situation in and around Merseyside,” he adds.

“We’ll ensure we have the protocols in place to deliver what’s required.”

As with all sporting events, Aintree and the Grand National remains prepared for any need to change the outlook at short notice.

“We are planning for an event but are very aware that if the situation changes and additional restrictions are put in place, we will change plans,” White concluded.

Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is a racing writer with a growing portfolio of work on both British and Irish racing, with a particular fondness for National Hunt racing. While he acknowledges there have been many great runners; there has only ever been one Denman.

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