Bright sunshine greeted the early arrivals at Aintree racecourse today ahead of the of the Martell Cognac Grand National.
A massive security operation was underway with airport style checks and a large British police presence to monitor the huge 60,000 crowd expected to pack the stands at the Liverpool track.
Last year’s winner Bindaree bids to become the first horse since Red Rum to win two Nationals with his Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and jockey Carl Llewellyn looking for their third successes in the gruelling four and a half miles marathon.
Among the favourites today is Youlneverwalkalone who takes his name from the Liverpool soccer anthem and is owned by fearless punter JP McManus who saw his famous green and gold colours carried to success on three occasions yesterday.
Youlneverwalkalone will face strong opposition from Ad Hoc and Shotgun Willy, two of five runners in the race representing Ditcheat trainer Paul Nichols.
Chives is well fancied to create history for trainer Henrietta Knight who is bidding to become the first woman to supply the winners of the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and the National in the same season.
Miss Knight also saddles the quietly-fancied Maximize and Southern Star in a bid to land the £348,000 (€508,000) first prize.
Record breaking champion jockey Tony McCoy relies on Iris Bleu, one of seven Martin Pipe trained runners, to give him his maiden success in the race.
McCoy has finished third on Blowing Wind in the last two runnings but deserted the 10-year-old on this occasion.
McCoy’s mount could well go off favourite according to Simon Clare of Corals bookmakers.
“Iris Bleu looks likely to challenge for favouritism and Chives is also very strong,” he said. “It should be about 10-1 or 9-1 the field.”
Clare predicts huge amounts will be bet on the race.
“Turnover looks as though it will break all records,” he said. “It is a very competitive National with about £50m bet on the race.”
Perfect ground should face the 40 runners as they reach the starting gate at 3.45 with the official going described as Good.