Grand National

Aintree prize-money rises, Royal Ascot cuts capacity

Rachael Blackmore
Riding into history: Rachael Blackmore became the first female winner of the Grand National

Total prize-money for this year’s Randox Grand National will return to £1 million for the first time since 2019.

Last year’s Aintree meeting had a prize pot of £750,000 when Rachael Blackmore on Minella Times became the first female jockey to win the showpiece race, though sadly the meeting was held behind closed doors. It was cancelled in 2020.

Aintree will also welcome a capacity crowd for this year’s meeting, culminating in the Grand National on 9 April.

Jockey Club north-west regional director Dickon White, said: “The prize-money level across the three days is incredibly important to us. We want to reward the best horses to come and run at Aintree.

“The demand for admission tickets and for hospitality is higher than it’s ever been before. We’re really thrilled with the interest in people coming to attend and we’re planning towards a full crowd but we are in constant discussions with our local authority and our director of public health about the COVID situation in and around Merseyside.

“We’ll ensure we have the protocols in place to deliver what’s required.”

The 2021 Grand National proved to be a hugely successful week for bookmakers, with Smarkets recording a 21% increase in betting volume from 2019 to reach a total trading sum of £92.8 million.

While Aintree will be back to normal attendances, the capacity at this year’s Royal Ascot will be reduced based on feedback from those attending last year. The feedback is part of the government’s pilot Events Research Programme.

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