Grand National - as it happened

Neptune Collonges, a 33-1 shot ridden by Daryl Jacob, wins the Grand National at Aintree in a photo finish from Sunnyhillboy.

14 April 2012 Last updated at 18:48

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As it happened

  1. 1837: 

    The debate on the deaths in today's race, and what it means for future year's editions, will continue for some time. We also saw why the National continues to hold so many in its thrall though with a thrilling finish and a surprise winner. We are going to leave this live there, but keep across the BBC Horse racing pages for full coverage of today's action and aftermath. Goodbye for now.


    Anthony Bevan on Twitter: "Love racing, but haven't bet on or watched the national in several years. Appalling event. Brutal."

    Paul Harrison on Twitter: "No surprise to see all the negative comments, no doubt from people who have no idea of the day to day sport."


    Jayne Dowling in Frome via text: "Awful sad horrendous day. Radical and drastic changes MUST be made, or we can probably say goodbye to The National."

    Nick via text: "Its all very well in an Aintree statement saying they're going to improve safety but the realities are, after last year they said it would be improved and look what happened. Next year, I dare say the jumps will be higher but surely this must stop?"

    Anon via text: "Once again two horses die in the so called Grand National! Nothing 'Grand' about it! Horses continue to die and they call this 'sport'. The fences are too big and the number racing way too many. I am livid!"

  4. 1819: 

    Winning trainer Paul Nicholls has told BBC Radio 5 live that spectators have to be aware of the risks inherent in horse racing:

    "When you are in competitive sport, whatever you do, motor racing, hockey there is an element of risk," he said.

    "The worst thing you can do is to go too far. You make the fences smaller, they go faster and you get more fallers.

    "Sport is risk. We have to live with that and get on with it. We have to grow up, basically. A lot of people have to grow up, and realise that it is life, and get on with it."

  5. 1813: 

    The British Horse Racing Authority have also commented on the deaths of Synchronised and According to Pete.

    "We are very sad about the fatal injuries suffered by Synchronised and According to Pete in the Grand National," said Professor Tim Morris, the body's director of Equine Science and Welfare.

    "In both cases the horse incurred a fracture to the leg and the humane option was to put the injured horses down.

    "The Grand National undoubtedly represents a challenge to both horse and rider. It has inherent risks, but, working closely with Aintree and other stakeholders, we do all we can to minimise these risks while maintaining the unique character of the race.

    "We will examine closely the circumstances which led to both incidents."

  6. 1807: 

    Aintree Racehorse have released a statement on today's Grand National which contains quotes from managing director Julian Thick.

    "When a horse gets hurt, everyone is deeply upset. Safety is the first priority for the organisers of the Grand National and we make every effort to ensure that everyone involved in the event is able to participate in safety," he said.

    "Since last year's race we have made further significant changes to the course and there have been four races run over the course without serious incident since then.

    "After today, we will, as always, be looking at all aspects of this year's race to see how we can improve safety further."

  7. 1800:  

    BBC Horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on Twitter: "Racecourse saying Weird Al & Killyglen injuries not believed to be life-threatening. Racecourse saying all jockeys ok after race and Ruby Walsh stood down just for day by medical staff."

    RESULT- Hanidcap Hurdle

    1. Lifestyle David Bass 28-1

    2. Conquisto P Bohan 40-1

    3. Gibb River Jeremiah McGrath 16-1

    4. Dream Esteem Brendan Powell 9-1

  9. 1749: 

    There were a couple more races after the Grand National at Aintree today. Result from the first coming right up...

  10. 1743: 

    BBC pundit Mick Fitzgerald who won the 1996 Grand National on Rough Quest: "Today is a day I want to forget. It is a very sad day for the McManus family. JP has been a great supporter of the sport.

    "Synchronised cantered and sauntered down on an approach of no more than 400 metres more than he would have done anyway. He was examined by two vets and he had his heart monitored.

    "AP got back on board and he was happy and even allowed him to look at the first fence again. JP looked at him and was happy. They would not even have attempted it if they didn't think the horse was 100%."

  11. 1734: 

    Only fifteen of the 40 runners who started the big race came home with their rider on board. We are expecting statements from the British Horse Racing Authority and Aintree on the race later this afternoon.

  12. 1729: 

    Winning owner John Hales, for whom One Man was killed in a fall at this meeting in 1998, on Neptune Collonges' victory: "When he crossed the line I thought he might have got it. My first thought was if he has got it Paul has won the trainers' championship. And then I thought thank you Aintree - you know why - many years ago.

    "It split the family coming here. My wife was 50-50, my daughter couldn't face it. She has gone show jumping and is overcome with emotion.

    He also announced Neptune Collonges' retirement: "He'll never race again, that's it."

  13. 1722: 

    You can argue about how accurate a barometer Twitter is of the nation's mood, but at the moment the top trending terms in the United Kingdom is "Synchronised and According To Pete". Sadly, but perhaps rightly, a fantastic finish may not be what this year's Grand National is remembered for.

  14. 1716: 

    Weird Al and Killyglen are still receiving treatment on the course after suffering falls.

  15. 1712: 

    Contrasting scenes at Aintree as Neptune Collonges' owner John Hales lifts the race trophy amid celebrations from the rest of his connections. Elsewhere the news is filtering through of the deaths on the course. Those, after the two deaths in the race of Onnais and Dooneys Gate last year, will overshadow this year's event for many.





  18. 1702: 

    Just watching the final stages of the race again and the shortening of Sunnyhillboy's stride was agonising as he was eventually overhauled at the post. Planet of Sound was getting plenty of love pre-race and did a lot of the hard yards through that race.

  19. 1656: 

    Despite the safety improvements made to the course for this year the scenes at the fifth fence were none too clever. There were a trio of fallers, Chicago Grey, State of Play and Rare Bob, and the field avoided it on their second time round.

  20. 1650: 

    Winning jockey Daryl Jacob tells BBC One: "It was very very tough race. I just kept my head down and kept going for all my worth. It was a massive, massive team effort and I'm very glad and lucky to be a part of it."

  21. 1648: 

    Confirmation of the fifth place has just come in, which I know is important for those of you who placed bets with bookies who were offering each-way returns that far down the field. It could be lucrative as well with 100-1 shot In Compliance coming in next behind the front four.


    Jockey Katie Walsh who finished third on Seabass: "I got an unbelievable spin. I was wrong a couple of times and he put me right. I had such a good time, I want to go and do it all again! I was well set and going well but I am not going to whinge with third."


    Winning trainer Paul Nicholls: "He is class, it is just fantastic. It has blown [rival for the trainer's title] Nicky Henderson out of the water so that game is up for the season!"

  24. 1642: 

    There are still three horses being treated out on the track and as soon as we know more about their condition, we'll pass it on.

  25. 1640: 

    That is the first grey to win the race since Nicolaus Silver in 1961, while Katie Walsh achieves the highest finish of any woman jockey in the race aboard Seabass in third.

    RESULT- Grand National

    1. Neptune Collonges D A Jacob 33-1

    2. Sunnyhillboy R P McLernon 16-1

    3. Seabass Ms K Walsh 8-1 Jt Fav

    4. Cappa Bleu Paul Moloney 16-1

  27. 1638: 

    Wow. What. A. Finish. Neptune Collonges claws his way ahead of Sunnyhillboy in the very last strides and Paul Nicholls explodes into celebrations as he lands his first Grand National winner.



  29. 1634: 

    Very, very tight. Even on the replay, there is not even a nose between them.



  31. 1633: 

    Sunny Hill Boy leads with 100 yards to go...

  32. 1633: 

    Katie Walsh is bringinmg Seabass through to lead on the outside, Sunny Hill Boy is pushing though...

  33. 1632: 

    Shakalakaboomboom and Planet of Sound still vying at the front with two to jump...

  34. 1632: 

    BecauseIcouldntsee is another fancied faller...

  35. 1631: 

    Sixteen horses have already fallen. It doesn't look good with a couple of screens erected around the fence that was the fifth on the first time round...

  36. 1629: 

    Planet of Sound leads by a couple of lengths with Shakalakaboomboom chasing behind. Ballabriggs going well.

  37. 1628: 

    The field has thinned considerably. Organisedconfusion and Giles Cross are amongst those no longer in the running. Seabass still there though, with Planet of Sound taking the pace on...

  38. 1626: 

    Shakalakaboomboom leads as Synchronised falls at Bechers Brook...

  39. 1626: 

    West End Rocker and Junior fall at the second...

  40. 1625: 

    Giles Cross and BecauseICouldn'tSee sets off well along with Viking Blond a faller at the first...

  41. 1624: 

    We are off...

  42. 1624: 

    The jockies are looking very twitchy. We have had a couple of false starts with Hello Bud and then West End Rocker charging the tape. Third time lucky?

  43. 1621: 

    Synchronised is still looking a little frisky as AP McCoy gives him another little peep at the first. Hmmm...

  44. 1620: 

    AP McCoy is popped back into the saddle on top of Synchronised after getting the once over from the doctor. Relieved punters with a couple of quid on the Gold Cup winner cheer him on his way as he hacks back down to the start.

  45. 1618: 

    While you wait, hit a quick manual refresh and you will be able to get across what James May of Top Gear fame is making of it all on his commentary and also relive the fall in the Aintree Hurdle that took Ruby Walsh out of the running for the big one.

  46. 1615: 

    Ay, ay there is a bit of trouble up mill... Synchronised has dumped AP McCoy out the sidedoor as he gets slightly spooked by the tape en route to the start. The horse has been recovered and McCoy is unharmed. The pair will be reunited and look likely to start but the race will be delayed by five minutes or so.

  47. 1612: 

    Some of the money aimed at Seabass will coming from those hoping to see a woman jockey win the race for the first time. Katie Walsh saddles her up with Seabass trained by her father. The latest prices show her shortening in to 8-1 favourite.

  48. 1608: 

    The prices at the top of the bookies' board have squeezed together with Synchronished, Seabass and Shakalakaboomboom all set to go off at 10-1 joint favourites.

  49. 1607: 

    Ballabriggs, with Jason Maguire on board, will be looking for a double of his own as he attempts to become the first champion to defend the National title since the great Red Rum in 1974.

  50. 1603: 

    Favourite Synchronised is attempting to become the first horse to win both the Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season since Golden Miller did the double in 1934. Rough Quest and Garrison Savannah have been close since then, but fell just short. He'll be hefting around the top weight though and is not the strongest jumper in the field.

  51. 1558: 

    Let's have a little closer look at some of the prime contenders then as the jockeys emerge out on to the paddock for their pre-race team photo.

  52. 1556: 

    Ted Walsh, father to Ruby and Katie, and trainer of the heavily-backed Seabass: "Ruby's disappopinted to miss the National. He's sore. It's not the first time he's missed it but the last time [in 2010] he broke his arm. It's not as serious as that this time."

    "I don't know where the money for Seabass has come from. He has no better chance this morning than he had yesterday. There's a question mark over the 4.5 miles but you could say that about a lot of them. I'd be happy if Katie comes back in with a smile on her face. At this stage I'm very much a father and not a trainer."

  53. 1555:  
    From BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Aintree

    "BBC's Top Gear presenter James May may know about horsepower, but he's a nervous man as he prepares to provide alternative Grand National commentary, which will be available on the Red Button and BBC Sport website. "It's a test of memory and a test of performance under pressure. These are vital skills of the modern man. We thought it would be a bit of a laugh but now it's quite frightening," he told me. The commentary will feature in his Man Lab programme in the late autumn."

  54. 1554: 

    A great shot of the inside of the jockeys' room on BBC One shows a despondent Ruby Walsh sitting shirt off and head bowed while his peers busy themselves getting ready around him.

  55. 1552: 

    Right, let's have a little look at the latest betting standings. Synchronised has edged ahead of the rest of the field and is now on offer at 9-1, with Seabass back at 11-1 and Shakalakaboomboom at 12-1. Deep Purple has come in from 66-1 to 33-1, while Hello Bud has been backed down from 100-1 to 50-1. Full marks if you got on either of those early doors.


    BBC Sport's Cornelius Lysaght on Twitter: "GN2012: what a story it would be now if injured Ruby Walsh's sister Katie wins GN on heavily backed Seabass." #bbcracing

  57. 1547: 

    Ruby Walsh is one of those reduced to a spectator after that heavy fall and it is a position he is sadly quite used to at Aintree. Back in 2010, he broke his arm in a fall from Celestial Halo earlier in the day and missed the ride on Big Fella Thanks. On that occasion, Barry Geraghty came in for the ride.

  58. 1544: 

    Right, we are on to the main event. The Grand National contenders are in the pre-parade ring with grey Swing Bill practically glowing and Viking Blond flicking and stretching.

    RESULT- Hanidcap Chase

    1 Oscar Whisky B J Geraghty 9-4

    2 Thousand Stars P Townend 7-1

    3 Rock On Ruby N Fehily 5-2

  60. 1536: 

    Winning jockey Dougie Costello: "He is very, very tough. He jumps and stays, it is a stayers' track here with four furlongs from that bend and a flat left-handed track suits him well."

  61. 1535: 

    Battle Group looked as if he had the legs on Saint Are are he flew over the last, but Dougie Costello coaxed a little more out of the winner and ground his way to victory.



  63. 1531: 

    Battle Group offers the only competition...

  64. 1531: 

    Saint Are hits the front as they approach the last...

  65. 1530: 

    Marufo and Saint Are are massing ominously behind the leader Ballyvesey..

  66. 1530: 

    Brackloon High has been pulled up...

  67. 1529: 

    Ballyvesey takes on the running, but they are packed in nice and tight behind with plenty of good positions to shoot at the lead from. Battle Group is edging up through the field...

  68. 1528: 

    They are well away and Tullamore Dew leaps the fifth cleanly enough and lands in front of the rest...

  69. 1526: 

    One more race before the Grand National then with Chapoturgeon the 9-4 favourite for the Handicap Chase, and Battle Group and Marufo next in the betting at 6-1.

  70. 1524: 

    A rearrangement in the jockeys' room then and Paul Townend moves off Midnight Club to take on On His Own. Andrew Tinkler steps in to ride last year's favourite Midnight Club.




    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh on Twitter: "Breaking news: Jockey Ruby Walsh is out of the Grand National with an injury and will not ride On His Own. Ruby Walsh, who has been stood down for day at Aintree, misses Grand National with late injury for 2nd time in 3 years (also 2010)."

  73. 1518: 

    After that big fall on Zarkandar, Ruby Walsh has withdrawn from the next race - the Handicap Chase - where he was due to ride Chapoturgeon. And as I type there is more news just in...

  74. 1515: 

    Over on BBC One, Top Gear's James May is just getting under the metaphorical bonnet of the athletes that are going to tackle the National course. Junior is the model as the fuzzy-haired one explains that each horse will suck in 21,000 litres of air over the course of the National - the equivalent of what a human gets through in two days. They have hearts the size of volleyballs as well.

  75. 1507: 

    Zarkandar's fall was a real wincer, with the Paul Nicholls-trained ride rolling over Ruby Walsh after clipping the top of the hurdle. It looks like all the limbs, both equine and human, have emerged intact from that tangle thankfully.

  76. 1503: 

    It's a third win of the day for trainer Nicky Henderson after the win for Oscar Whisky in the Aintree Hurdle.

    "It's great and a complete re-run of last year. He had a hard race at Cheltenham and the boys at home have done well to get him back for this one," he says.

    So does his three victories mean Henderson is more confident going into the big race where he saddles Shakalakaboomboom?

    "The National is the sort of race you never think you are going to win - you just have a try at it."

  77. 1458: 

    A third win in succession today for trainer Nicky Henderson and, just like last year, Oscar Whisky staves off the challenge of Thousand Stars who was finishing the stronger. After making all the running, Rock On Ruby paid for his efforts as he faded over the closing stages.

    RESULT- Aintree Hurdle

    1 Oscar Whisky B J Geraghty 9-4

    2 Thousand Stars P Townend 7-1

    3 Rock On Ruby N Fehily 5-2

  79. 1458: 

    Ruby Walsh, on board On His Own in the big one, has got to his feet rather gingerly after that fall on Zarkander but he is striding back towards the grandstand now and looks OK. His mount looks fine as well.



  81. 1455: 

    It is a three-way fight for the line with Thousand Stars challenging...

  82. 1455: 

    Still Rock On Ruby leading by a length from Oscar Whisky with two to jump...

  83. 1454: 

    Zarkandar falls heavily at the sixth...

  84. 1454: 

    Rock On Ruby still pressing the pace, but the rest of the field is tightly bunched in behind Noel Fehily...

  85. 1452: 

    Rock On Ruby leads the way by three quarters of a length back to Oscar Whisky, with Thousand Stars chasing the leading pair. Only a five-strong field in this one...

  86. 1450: 

    The Aintree Hurdle is the next race and Rock On Ruby, a winner in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, is going to head off as favourite. Oscar Whisky is defending his title.

  87. 1447: 

    Frank was out on his own amongst the BBC pundits in backing Treacle for the National, with none of his colleagues even having having the Irish raider placed. He will be pleased to know that Daily Mail tipster Robin Goodfellow gave him a bit of support on that tip when interviewed on BBC One earlier today. Available at around 20-1 if you want to join them.

  88. 1442:  

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh on Twitter: "Odd to hear cheers around Aintree between races. Liverpool beat Everton. Reds fans beaming. Maybe Treacle can sweeten the Toffees?"

    The FA Cup semi-final between the two clubs has been shown on big screens around the course.

  89. 1436: 

    BBC Sport's 'Honest' Frank Keogh has run the rule over every one of your possible picks as well. As they say in those financial products adverts, his assessment should not be "taken as a guide to future performance".

  90. 1433: 

    With less than a couple of hours left till the Grand National you are leaving it late, but with a bit of speedy scissorwork and a spare Fedora you could still whip up a quick sweepstake for you and whoever you are tuning in with. The BBC's print-out kit. is ready for you - get snipping.

  91. 1429: 

    Winning jockey Barry Geraghty: "He is frightingly good. Ever jump is like a bungee jump - he frightens you when he does it, but then you want to do it again straight away. The style he does it, the way he jumps, I've never seen anything like it."

  92. 1427: 

    Sprinter Sacre's trainer Nicky Henderson: "He has been amazing all season but now anything less than perfection doesn't do. It has been fun up to now but now it is frightenting because you expect more of him. He is growing up all the time and can only get stronger. He has the athleticism and the attitude and doesn't seem to have any flaws.

    "Both him and Simonsig are lovely young horses. They've done what they had to do and can now relax over the summer."

    RESULT- Maghull Novices' Chase

    1. Sprinter Sacre (B J Geraghty) 1-7 Fav

    2. Toubab (R Walsh) 10-1

    3. Kudu Country (J Reveley) 25-1

  94. 1423: 

    An absolute armchair ride for Barry Geraghty as he guides Sprinter Sacre home ahead of a field that never looked to have the quality to test him. Another potential superstar in the making for Nicky Henderson who edges ahead in the trainer standings.



  96. 1420: 

    Toubab gives the penultimate fence a hefty clip and any hope of an upset looks to have gone...

  97. 1419: 

    Toubab is four lengths behind as they come into the home straight...

  98. 1418: 

    Spinter Sacre trots past Australia Day, clears the eighth and looks ready to fly...

  99. 1416: 

    Dramatic start as Australia Day makes a skittish start and only just follows the right side of the rail...

  100. 1415: 

    Next up is the Maghull Novices' Chase and if the bookies are to be believed, then this one is as good as finished already. It is only a field of four and Arkle winner Sprinter Sacre is the undoubted star. The unbeaten novice is a very, very skinny 1-7. Toubab, with Ruby Walsh at the controls, might be the source of any upset.

  101. 1411:  

    BBC Horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on Twitter: "Nicky Henderson draws almost level with Paul Nicholls in prizemoney judged trainers' champ as Simonsig wins 28k (1-45)."

    Henderson has been slugging it out at the top of the trainers' standings with Paul Nicholls all year. After pulling ahead after a superb Cheltenham, Henderson has been overhauled by his rival in the meantime. A winner in the National would probably clinch the race for either.

  102. 1405:  
    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Aintree

    "Predictions for a soft ground National have proved wide of the mark with largely dry spells over the last few days meaning the going on the National course is good, good to soft in places. This should not inconvenience most runners, although Giles Cross would prefer softer ground while Planet of Sound should appreciate drier conditions."

  103. 1403: 

    Looks fairly bright and breezy out there, I wouldn't count on any more showers to soften up the going. Our man on the ground has been out pressing and probing the Aintree turf.

  104. 1400: 

    Anon via text: "Mike, what's the weather looking like? Will Giles Cross get his soft ground?"

  105. 1359: 

    And Nicky Henderson is also optimistic about the hopes of Shakalakaboomboom in the Grand National

    "He is a very realistic Grand National horse," he tells BBC Sport. "He has been around here in the Topham Chase but it wasn't far enough for him. The ground is great and he has a live chance but he has got very short in the betting.

  106. 1357: 

    Winning jockey Barry Geraghty on Simonsig's win: "He is as good as he looks. He did everything so easy. Really he wants fences and that will be the plan next year. He is a real chaser but jumps hurdles well.

    Trainer Nicky Henderson: "He's always looked good all year. I wasn't happy with him at Sandown but he has been so good since then."

    RESULT- Mersey Novices' Hurdle

    1. Simonsig B J Geraghty 4-9 Fav

    2. Super Duty J M Maguire 7-1

    3. Baby Shine L Aspell 12-1

  108. 1355: 

    Colour Sqauadron is being led back home by Richard Johnson and both horse and jockey appear to have got through that fall unscathed. Good news.

  109. 1353: 

    Once Super Duty had fluffed one of the last two fences, Simonsig was able to amble home at his leisure. Trainer Nicky Henderson has a hot prospect on his hands.



  111. 1350: 

    Simonsig strolls through the finishline unopposed...

  112. 1350: 

    Cancel that. Aland Island drops out the back as Colour Squadron falls...

  113. 1349: 

    AP McCoy, saddling Synchronised in the big one, is well set aboard Aland Islands as they prepare to kick for home...

  114. 1348: 

    Go All The Way has joined Super Duty at the front of the field with five to jump...

  115. 1346: 

    They are away bang on time. Super Duty makes the early running and opens up a lead of a length and a half...

  116. 1345: 

    Simonsig, a runaway winner at Cheltenham, is going to go off as a heavily-backed favourite in the Mersey Novices' Hurdle. The Philip Hobbs-trained Colour Squadron might offer the stiffest competition...

  117. 1343: 

    As an added little line why not chuck over your favourite National memories?

    My earliest memory was as a very young lad getting my old man to put some pocket money on Dockland Express that went off as favourite some time in the early nineties. I didn't see any of that again.

  118. 1338: 

    Gavin Williams on Twitter: "I've gone for Planet of Sound purely due to the Pixies connection."

    Matthew Rudd on Twitter: "I'm assuming Shackalackaboomboom is ridden by Apache Indian."

    Nice musical twist to your musings this afternoon.

  119. 1334: 

    Whoever you are on for the big one, it's no good telling us when the champagne corks are popping that your winning bet was the result of your shrewd reading of the form. No-one is going to believe that it wasn't a blind stab at the newsprint.

    If you have got the winner tucked up safe in your back pocket, share it with us all now via text on 81111 or on Twitter on the hashtag #bbcracing .

  120. 1333: 

    Shakalakaboomboom is a lot of letters to get your typing fingers around, but that does not need to be a barrier to success. Fellow six-syllable monster Numbersixvalverde was a winner in 2006.

  121. 1327: 

    Shakalakaboomboom, the text commentators' curse, is available at 12-1 behind Synchronised and Seabass. Would it be bad to say that I wouldn't mind if he was not involved too much at the business end of proceedings this afternoon?

  122. 1324:  
    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Aintree

    "Can a woman jockey win the Grand National for the first time? Many punters seem to think so with Seabass, the mount of Katie Walsh, the subject of a monster gamble which has seen his price halved to 10-1 and now vying for favouritism with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised. Seabass is trained by Katie's dad Ted, whose 2000 winner Papillon was heavily backed on the day of that victory."

  123. 1323: 

    There has been plenty of movement in the morning markets, with the bookies scrubbing away like fury as they revise the prices on the course.

    RESULT- Aintree Legends Race

    1. American Trilogy (M J Kinane)

    2. Waldvogel (A Dobbin)

    3. Cape Express (Marcus Armytage)

  125. 1318: 

    Thirteen-times Irish champion jockey Mick Kinane, who finished his career on Sea the Stars, romps home by a street. Richard Pitman narrowly avoided last place atop Millers Reef.



  127. 1315: 

    American Trilogy kicks for home.

  128. 1315: 

    Just Lille, with Carl Llwellwyn, is out in front being chased by Sky Calling

  129. 1313: 

    May Contain Nuts and American Trilogy are making the early running. Richard Pitman doing a sterling job of chatting away on Millers Reef, telling us the going feels a little "puddingy" when from his vantage point.

  130. 1311: 

    Richard Pitman, who donated a kidney to a complete stranger just two months ago, is aboard Millers Reef. He has been rigged up with a microphone for the race and he is just whispering a few soothing words into his mount's ears as they prepare for the off.

  131. 1308: 

    Nine former National winning jockeys, including Carl Llewellyn, line up for this along with big names such as Richard Pitman, Mick Kinane and Adrian Maguire who never quite managed to reel in the big one.

  132. 1306: 

    The first race of the day may come a little earlier than you realised. The John Smith's Charity Race begins at 1310, raising money for a perfect cause, the Bob Champion Cancer Trust. Champion won the 1981 National on Aldaniti having been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier and given just two months to live.

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Aintree

    "A mixture of sun and light showers has greeted punters as a sell-out crowd of 70,000 snakes through tight security and into the racecourse for Grand National day. Queues formed outside before the gates opened at 1000 BST and the bars opened a few minutes later. Oohs and aahs are echoing from corners of the track with fans of Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton gathered at selected screens which are showing the FA Cup semi-final."

  134. 1303: 

    The television coverage has just kicked off on BBC One with a shot of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has clearly opted for the racing ahead of the FA Cup semi-final, strolling into Aintree. A quick manual refresh should put the coverage at the top of this page for you UK users...

  135. 1259: 

    Fittingly enough for a race full of thrills, spills and upsets, the first National winner in 1839 was a horse called Lottery. Whatever apparently-worthless scrap of paper you have pulled out the hat in the sweepstake, keep it secreted about your person until 1630 BST, by when it may have turned magically into a tidy sum.

  136. 1255: 

    The only question in the office in this morning was to ask which horse had a bit of my colleagues' hard-earned lobbed on its back. It will get loud to the left of me if Organisedconfusion is in contention in the closing stages with more decibels in my right ear if Seabass is up there as well.

  137. 1250: 

    Afternoon all. Forty runners, thirty fences, four and a half miles, 70,000 spectators and a television audience of a few million more. Feel the tingle, racing's biggest day is here.

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