After a one-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, the Grand National will return in 2021 to the Aintree Racecourse.
More than 500 million people are expected to tune into the three-day festival which concludes with the best known steeplechase in the world.
No fewer than 40 runners and riders take on the energy-sapping 30 Grand National fences over a 4.25-mile course at Aintree, near Liverpool.
It has been the stage for some of the most memorable spectacles in British sporting history, with treble winner Red Rum synonymous with the race.
Tiger Roll, trained by George Elliott, has won the last two Nationals - in 2018 and 2019 - but will he ride again in 2021?
When is the Grand National 2021?
In 2021, the Grand National Festival will take place between Thursday 8 April and Saturday 10 April, with the national race scheduled for the final day on 10 April.
Organisers had considered, and spoken to stakeholders, about moving the festival following the government’s roadmap out of a third national lockdown amid the Covid pandemic.
But, with the festival fast approaching, a busy sporting schedule and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus situation, the festival will take place between 8-10 April as planned.
Dickon White, who runs the Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, said there was “not a solid enough basis to move one of the biggest racing fixtures in the calendar”.
Will spectators be allowed to attend the 2021 Grand National?
Under the government’s roadmap, sports venues are not currently permitted to allow spectators into watch live events - but this restriction eases from the 17 May.
From this date sports venues can let a limited number of spectators through the gates, meaning the 2021 Grand National at Aintree Racecourse will take place behind closed doors.
Non-essential shops, such as bookies, won’t open until 12 April at the earliest - the Monday after the festival has concluded - under government plans.
“The Randox Grand National is the People’s Race and it is a shame that those wishing to have a flutter this year will be limited to online and mobile platforms, rather than being able to drop into the bookies,” said Mr White.
“With the national vaccination programme underway, including using facilities at Aintree Racecourse, we very much hope our way of life can return in the fullest sense just as soon as possible.”
How can I watch or live stream the Grand National?
The festival leads up to the Grand National race on Saturday 10 April. The start time of the race is scheduled for 5.15pm. Viewers can tune into live coverage of the National on ITV1 or through the ITV Hub.
Will Tiger Roll compete at the 2021 Grand National?
Tiger Roll will not bid for a third victory in the Grand National due to an “unfair weight burden”, owners Gigginstown House Stud have announced.
The Gordon Elliott-trained 11-year-old became the first horse since Red Rum in the 1970s to win back-to-back renewals of the famous steeplechase when striking gold in 2018 and 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic robbed Tiger Roll of the chance to emulate Red Rum by claiming a third National success 12 months ago and he has now been removed at the forfeit stage.
Elliott, meanwhile, has been banned from the sport for a year after a photo showed him sitting on a dead horse on his gallops.
Who are the Grand National 2021 runners?
The final field of runners will be confirmed in the days leading up to the race.
Cloth Cap is currently favourite to win the national at 4/1 with many online bookies such as Bet365, UniBet, and BetFred.
Any Second Now is at 10/1, Burrows Saint 12/1, Minella Times 14/1, Kimberlite Candy 14/1 and Secret Reproeve 14/1 as of 1 April.