Randox Health Grand National Festival 2018 live on ITV

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The eyes of the sporting world will once again be fixed on Aintree as the nation goes for its annual trip to races and the 2018 renewal of the Randox Health Grand National.

ITV will be live from Aintree for the second time with exclusive free-to-air coverage of the opening day and Ladies’ Day in the lead-up to the most famous event in the sport on Saturday, 14 April, when 40 runners set off in the Grand National at 5.15pm.

The race is still regarded to be among the sport’s most prestigious events and carries a £1 million prize fund, but what really makes the race an annual highlight for millions is the awe-inspiring spectacle of 40 thoroughbreds thundering at high speed round the uniquely challenging National course.

The race has been made much safer in recent years in a bid to reduce the risk to horses, while still maintaining the drama of the race and the 30 fences are considered the ultimate test of horse and jockey.

Last year’s race saw 14-1 shot One For Arthur become only the second Scottish-trained winner of the Grand National after a four-and-a-half-length victory.

Find out who will be victorious in 2018 as ITV Sport presents more than ten hours of live coverage across the three days of the Grand National Festival, taking in the major feature races every day.

ITV Racing will go behind the scenes at the course, featuring interviews with key figures including everyone from stable staff, trainers and owners through to the jockeys as well as racing legends, sampling the atmosphere in the grandstands, with pundits bringing an expert insight into the incredible challenge the course presents.

Joining lead presenters Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani for expert analysis are Sir AP McCoy, Luke Harvey and Mick Fitzgerald, with on-course reporting from Oli Bell and Alice Plunkett, while Matt Chapman and Brian Gleeson provide all the latest from a busy betting ring.

It is the first time Francesca has presented for ITV live from Aintree, and with an expanded role she will appear on the channel’s live coverage of all the major racing festivals this year.

Richard Hoiles will be in the commentary box throughout, with Mark Johnson and Ian Bartlett also commentating on the races staged over the Grand National fences, including the main event on Saturday.

Former ITV presenter Brough Scott also returns for Grand National day to bring his analysis and unique perspective to the festival.

Additionally, Lucy Verasamy will provide weather forecasts, expert Eva O’Donoghue will give her views from a veterinary perspective, Mark Heyes and Charlotte Hawkins join the team on Friday to cast their eye over the fashions on show.

On the opening day on Thursday, three Grade One races headline the ITV Racing card – the Doom Bar Anniversary 4 year old Hurdle, the Betway Bowl and the Betway Aintree Hurdle, plus the amateur riders go over the Grand National fences in the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase.

Ladies’ Day on Friday features four Grade One races including the Betway Novices’ Hurdle, Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase, JLT Melling Chase and the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, plus the professionals are in action over the big fences in the Randox Health Topham Chase.

Alongside the feature Grand National on Saturday, due off at 5.15pm, other supporting races on the card include the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase, Betway Handicap Chase and the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle.

The big race itself. The day the nation goes racing. Thursday and Friday are relaxed, good fun and beautifully presented by the team at Aintree.

Saturday is different. It’s a monster. A British sporting institution. A day that starts early and all builds to an incredible crescendo when the starter climbs on to his rostrum to let go the 40 runners for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National – and millions hold their breath.

Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing presenter

Alongside ITV’s live racing coverage, The Opening Show, presented by Oli Bell, will air on ITV4 every morning throughout the festival to preview each day’s action.

All ITV Racing output from  Aintree across ITV and ITV4 will also be simulcast on the ITV Hub, on web and app, for viewers to watch online and on the ITV Racing website – itv.com/racing.

Viewers can also download the refreshed ITV Racing app, where viewers can take part in on-air polls, take tricky quizzes and watch clips from all of the live races as well as loads of extra video content.

The popular ITV7 competition has also returned with prize pots of £50,000 on Thursday and Friday, and of £100,000 on Grand National day.

This year has seen the introduction of ITV Racing’s Social Stable – a social media hub based at the track, which is linked to all the channel’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles and is incorporated into the channel’s live programming.

The ITV Racing Twitter account will feature clips during each of the channel’s broadcasts, while the ITV Racing YouTube channel will feature daily live broadcasts with the ITV Racing team and guests.

Racing returned to ITV for the first time more than 30 years in 2017 as part of a new four-year deal to show UK horse racing on terrestrial television encompassing live broadcasts of almost 100 days of racing each year across ITV and ITV4.

Aintree’s Grand National festival is the second marquee event on ITV’s 2018 horse racing calendar, following on from the Cheltenham Festival, and also includes the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot, the Five Classics, plus other highlights such as Future Champions Day at Newmarket and Champions Day at Ascot.

Full TV schedule and race cards can be found below, while further Grand National Festival information can be found via itv.com/racing.

Every race from the 2018 Grand National Festival will be broadcast live on dedicated horse racing channel Racing UK, including exclusive live coverage of the first and final races of each day.

DAY 1 – THURSDAY 12th APRIL

The Opening Show
PREVIEW  9.30am-10.30am
ITV Racing: Grand National Festival
LIVE  2.00pm-5.00pm

2.20   Doom Bar Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle
2.50   Betway Bowl Chase
3.25   Betway Aintree Hurdle
4.05   Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase
4.40   Red Rum Handicap Chase


DAY 2 – FRIDAY 13th APRIL

The Opening Show
PREVIEW  9.30am-10.30am
ITV Racing: Grand National Festival
LIVE  2.00pm-5.00pm

2.20   Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle
2.50   Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase
3.25   JLT Melling Chase
4.05   Randox Health Topham Chase
4.40   Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle


DAY 3 – SATURDAY 14th APRIL

The Opening Show
PREVIEW  9.30am-11.00am
ITV Racing: Grand National Day
LIVE  2.00pm-6.15pm

2.25   Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle
3.00   Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase
3.40   Betway Handicap Chase
4.20   Ryanair Stayers Hurdle
5.15   RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL


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