Grand National: Aintree showpiece given new start time in 2024 for key reason
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The world-famous Grand National horse race at Aintree will start at a different time this year and will have a reduced field, the Jockey Club has confirmed.
The showpiece steeplechase has been shunted from its 5.15pm slot to an earlier start time of 4pm on Saturday, 13 April, following a safety review.
Sulekha Varma, clerk of the course at Aintree Racecourse, said: "This was a decision we took after a number of participants and other racing stakeholders raised concerns about the long build-up to the race throughout the day and heightened tension as a result. These were not issues which had been identified as a problem when the race was previously staged at 15:45 and 16:15.”
The 2023 Grand National was delayed by 15 minutes when protesters made their way onto the track, blocked roads around Aintree Racecourse and attempted to scale perimeter fences.
Following an annual review of the race, a number of other changes will also be made, including reducing the number of runners from 40 to 34 and moving the first fence closer to the start line.
Varma said: "Bringing forward the start time of the Grand National by 75 minutes to 4pm will also help us to maintain optimal jumping ground, as warm or breezy conditions can dry out the racing surface."