British Grand National begins today12/04/2012 - 10:07:59
The 165th John Smith's British Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool begins today.
Millions worldwide are expected to have a flutter and tune in on Saturday as dozens of runners and riders contest the world-famous steeplechase.
Tens of thousands of punters will attend the first day, named Liverpool Day, which will see four Grade One contests and the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase over the Grand National fences.
Liverpool-born gymnast Beth Tweddle will take a break from training for the Olympics to officially open the three-day meeting with other London 2012 hopefuls.
Other highlights include the Red Devils parachuting on to the course and Liverpool band The Christians will be headlining performances of live music and comedy.
Friday is Ladies' Day, a firm fixture on the british social calendar, frequented by famous faces such as Coleen Rooney, Alex Gerrard and Jennifer Ellison.
On Saturday, the world's most talented horsemen and women will gather to compete in the John Smith's Grand National steeplechase.
Watched by around 600 million people worldwide, the British Grand National is the most high-profile event on the UK's horse racing calendar.
Forty runners and riders will contest the race over four miles and 30 fences.
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