Grand National Start Times & Dates 2019

Zuletzt aktualisiert & geprüft: 11.10.2020

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If you’ve ever wondered when the Grand National time for the off at Aintree is, then look no further than this very page which has all the details. The big race at Aintree will always be on the Saturday of the three-day Festival that has built up around the world’s most famous steeplechase held annually in April. Grand National race times have been different to the slot it currently occupies in the past.

When Prince Charles married long-time mistress and partner Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005, the National Hunt horse racing authorities delayed the Grand National start time. In more recent years, a move to hold the event later on in the day was made. This is to ensure no other major sport in the United Kingdom takes the audience and public attention away from Aintree.

So what time does the Grand National start? The current Grand National time and date is 5:15pm on the third and final day of the Festival. It is the penultimate race of the entire meeting, so excitement builds up on Merseyside throughout the week and on the big day itself. The beauty of this Grand National time is, barring a lengthy injury delay in matches of that other great British sporting passion football, the way is completely clear for Aintree to take centre stage. In fact, for those 10 or 15 minutes every single year, this otherwise quiet, unassuming area on the edge of Liverpool becomes the centre of the sporting world. Given around two-third of British adults enjoy Grand National betting and with a worldwide audience of 600,000,000, it’s easy to see why it enjoys global supremacy as one of the most watched events on the planet.

A day-by-day breakdown of Grand National race times

Grand National dates do not simply just include the big race itself. There are 20 other races across the three-day meeting at Aintree, many of which are afforded Grade 1 status by horse racing authorities. Nor is the Grand National the only event over the infamous spruce-covered fences, some of which like The Chair or the Foinavon fence have their place in sporting folklore. Each day of the eponymous festival has a Grand National start time of 1:45pm for the first race, so be sure to use your Grand National free bets early on.

Now you know the answer to the question what time is the Grand National meeting underway? Betting on the Grand National is time while spent, but what really helps you as a punter get to grips with the entire Festival is knowing exactly what races are on which day and at what time they are scheduled for. That is where we come in. OpenOdds experts have the Grand National dates for your delectation and this is our day-by-day breakdown of the meeting and what is on when. We are going to take your through each of the three days in turn and provide the Grand National time 2020 for every single one of the 21 races during the festival. So, let’s get on with it. This is our daily schedule complete with Grand National race times.

Thursday Grand National Races

There are seven races on the Thursday, the opening day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree. The Grand National start time for the whole festival is 1:45pm on this day:

  • 1:45 Devenish Nutrition Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) over about 2m 4f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 2:20 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) over about 2m 1f – for 4-y-o horses only
  • 2:55 Betway Bowl Chase (also known as the Aintree Bowl) (Grade 1) over about 3m 1f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 3:25 Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) over about 2m 4f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 4:05 Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (class 2) over about 2m 5f – for 6-y-o hunter chase horses and up
  • 4:40 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over about 2m – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 5:15 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) over about 2m 1f – for horses that are 4-y-o, 5-y-o or 6-y-o that haven’t raced over hurdles or in a steeplechase

This is the 2019 opening day schedule for the Grand National meeting. What time is the Grand National Thursday’s big race? Well, the Betway Bowl over fences or Aintree Hurdle, also sponsored this year by that bookmaker, are considered the two main events on the first day of this horse racing Festival. That is why they are positioned in the middle of the seven-race card at 2:55pm and 3:25pm respectively. The significance of these two races are they are natural end of season targets for horses that ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle. Aintree is a flatter track than Cheltenham and so the emphasis is less on stamina here so be sure to use your Grand National tips wisely.

Friday Grand National Races

There are also seven races on the Friday, also known as Ladies Day, of the Grand National Festival. We are dealing with a similar Grand National time for the off on day two of the meeting:

  • 1:45 Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) over about 2m 4f – for 4-y-o horses and up
  • 2:20 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) over about 2m – for 4-y-o horses and up
  • 2:55 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) over about 3m 1f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 3:25 JLT Chase (registered as the Melling Chase) (Grade 1) over about 2m 4f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 4:05 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3 over about 2m 5f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 4:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) over about 3m – for 4-y-o horses and up
  • 5:15 Weatherby’s Racing Bank Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) over about 2m 1f – for horses that are 4-y-o, 5-y-o or 6-y-o that haven’t raced over hurdles or in a steeplechase

Notice how the 2019 schedule of the first day further up mirrors the second day with Grand National race times at the meeting? This uniformity not only assists TV schedulers with their coverage of horse racing, but helps you as a punter plan your day if you’re going to Aintree. The same 35 or 40 minute intervals between races give you ample time to place your bets, grab a drink from one of the many bars on course and meet with friends. The Melling Chase, sponsored by JLT, is arguably the big race on Ladies’ Day at 3:25pm, but the Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at 4:05pm also gets plenty of public and betting attention.

Saturday Grand National Races

Last, and by no means least, we come to Saturday. Grand National day itself. Anticipation has been mounting throughout the meeting and reaches fever pitch. Check out the Grand National start time from the schedule below:

  • 1:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) over about 3m – for 4-y-o horses and up
  • 2:25 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) over about 2m 4f – for 4-y-o horses and up
  • 3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) over about 2m – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 3:40 Ryanair Stayers Hurdle (registered as the Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) over about 3m – for 4-y-o horses and up
  • 4:20 Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over about 3m 1f – for 5-y-o horses and up
  • 5:15 Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over about 4m 2f – for 7-y-o horses and up that have won over 3m or further within the qualification period
  • 6:20 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys’ and Amateur Riders’ Race) (class 2) over about 2m – for 4-y-o horses and up

What strikes you immediately is the schedule on Grand National day is different to the first two. This is due to the number of runners that take part in the big race. A maximum field of 40 is allowed to run in the Grand National and so parading the horses in the paddock beforehand can take twice or even three times as long as any other race on the card or across the festival. Make sure you’ve noted the Grand National time 2020 of 5:15pm. The other top class races like the Liverpool Hurdle take place at 3:40pm and even earlier. This leaves you in absolutely no doubt what the main event is on the third and final day, for it’s the Grand National itself!

FAQs

While everything should be pretty straightforward in terms of the Grand National and its festival at Aintree, it does no harm to refresh these things. You may still have common queries about the meeting and event that you want answered. That is what this handy little section is for, so you are left with full answers to anything puzzling you. Let’s get straight down to business with the FAQs that OpenOdds experts have received from you, the betting public:

What time does the Grand National start?

The 2019 Grand National time and date is 5:15pm on Saturday, 6 April. Here is a list of previous Grand National dates to give you an idea of the time of year when it is run:

  • 2018 – 14 April
  • 2017 – 8 April
  • 2016 – 9 April
  • 2015 – 11 April
  • 2014 – 5 April
  • 2013 – 6 April
  • 2012 – 14 April
  • 2011 – 9 April
  • 2010 – 10 April
  • 2009 – 4 April
  • 2008 – 5 April
  • 2007 – 14 April
  • 2006 – 8 April
  • 2005 – 9 April
  • 2004 – 3 April
  • 2003 – 5 April
  • 2002 – 6 April
  • 2001 – 7 April
  • 2000 – 8 April
  • 1999 – 10 April

What you notice looking back over the last 20 years is the Grand National time can only be in a very small window of about 10 or 11 days. Things like when Easter falls are a consideration for schedulers of the race, because on Easter Monday the Irish Grand National is run at Fairyhouse. As the Aintree Grand National is always run on either the first or second Saturday in April, that is a good rule of thumb to take forward when considering future renewals.

Why is the Grand National start time 5:15pm?

Older punters may remember a time when the Grand National was run at 4:15pm on the Saturday of the three-day festival. A decision was taken in 2015, however, to move the scheduled off time back an hour. This was because the old time clashed with 3pm kick-offs in football matches up and down the country. At around 4:15pm a British football game should be about an hour into the 90 minutes. The rescheduling of the Grand National to its current 5:15pm start time not only allow fans to make it home from the football, but also have time to place any late bets on the race. It also allows Aintree to become the centre of attention following the final whistle at football grounds up and down the country.

What is the Grand National Festival?

The Grand National Festival is the name given to three-day meeting held at Aintree racecourse which includes the Grand National. This event starts two days before the big race on the first or second Thursday in April. There are seven races on each of the three days. The second day, the Friday, is known as Ladies Day, where fashion and many lovely ladies from Liverpool and beyond are particularly welcomed on Merseyside. Although only a Grade 3 race itself, the Grand National is still the most prestigious race of the meeting despite the presence of multiple Grade 1 events each day. This is due to the massive amount of prize money, history of the race and difficulty of winning the 40-runner handicap chase. Aintree have made every effort to attract the very best horses not only to come and race in the Grand National, but many other contests too.

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