April is finally upon us and the buzz and excitement around the city of Liverpool is already building ahead of the world’s greatest steeple chase.  Following the Cheltenham festival, the attention of the racing world now turns to the famous old racecourse at Aintree.  As one of the most highly anticipated and viewed sporting events on the planet there has always been a real sense of magic surrounding the Grand National and with the eyes of the world focused on Liverpool there is a tremendous feeling of pride amongst the locals.

The atmosphere in Liverpool on Grand National weekend is electric, the pubs and bars across the city are rammed to the rafters and there is not a hotel room to be had as people from all over the country and beyond descend on city to experience this momentous event.  I have always understood the importance of the Grand National, however it wasn’t until I relocated to Liverpool several years ago that I began to fully understand and appreciate just what it really means to the people of this great city.

This year’s Grand National week kicks off on Thursday 12th April with the opening day of jump racing followed by the eagerly anticipated ladies day on Friday 13th when the world’s paparazzi will converge on Aintree to snap the celebs, the stunning outfits and the inevitable few misfits!  Fashion and style has always played a major part in Grand National week and the scousers certainly know how to put on a show, from the dapper fellas in their smart tailored suits to the impeccably dressed ladies done up to the nines, the standard is always very high.  Any style conscious wannabes looking to compete in the fashion stakes on the Aintree catwalk will have to seriously up their game.

On Saturday comes the peoples race itself, this is the one event in the racing calendar where even the most reluctant gambler cannot resist a having a flutter.  The national truly captures the imagination and with such a large field of runners and some perilous jumps the race is the ultimate leveller, the fact that a 100-1 shot can genuinely win this epic race is what makes it so appealing to the masses.  Anibale and Blaklion are the joint favourites with the bookies to win this year’s main event while Tiger Roll who was joint favourite with Anibale yesterday has seen his price drift out to 12/1 which makes him a very tempting bet indeed.  For those with a sense of romance and adventure how about the 66-1 shot Baie Des Iles ridden by Katie Walsh?  The courageous Irish jockey is bidding to become the first female rider to win the historic race; it’s a punt but certainly worth a quid or two as a rank outsider.  It’s also worth remembering that she finished 3rd riding Seabass in the 2012 National.  Whatever the outcome it’s sure to be a fantastic race with lots of twists and turns, even the weather forecast looks favourable, famous last words!