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Aintree Racecourse’s Celebration of Merseyside Sport – which was launched at last year’s Randox Health Grand National – will include new additions for Festival Zone customers with an enhanced Champions Lounge this time around.

The new enhanced Champions Lounge, which is now course facing, will be in operation for this year’s Grand National Thursday on April 4.

Grand National Thursday, which begins the three-day Grand National meeting, is being billed as A Day for Champions and is arguably one of the best days in British Racing Jumps calendar.

Last year Aintree launched the Champions Lounge, which was hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker with special guests including sporting celebrities from all across Merseyside.

Due to its inaugural success, Aintree have enhanced this year’s Champions Lounge and also provided a course facing area in the Hospitality Pavilion.



Ladies Day at the Randox Health Grand National Festival 2018, at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool. Pictured here is Kenny Dalglish with his wife Marina arriving at the course.

Once again, the discussion will be hosted by Walker with special guests to include Liverpool FC legends Sir Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes; former Everton FC star Leon Osman; plus Olympians Beth Tweddle and Sam Quek MBE; and legendary champion jumps jockey and Grand National winner Sir Anthony McCoy.

In addition to this, Aintree will be extending its Merseyside Sport offering by introducing a Merseyside Sport Q&A, hosted by Wirral hockey star Quek in the Aintree Pavilion before racing on Grand National Thursday.

Special guests will include the aforementioned Barnes, Osman and Tweddle. This will follow a brand new Punters Panel looking ahead to the day’s racing and the Grand National race itself with racing stars including McCoy and brother and sister Aintree heroes Ruby and Katie Walsh.

Barnes, the former Liverpool and England winger, said: “Delighted to be part of celebrating Merseyside sport at one of the best horseracing racing festival in the world. I’ve been a big Grand National fan since childhood and having played for Liverpool FC, I’ve enjoyed going to Aintree to watch the iconic race.

“When the fixtures came out as players, the first thing we looked at was what game we had on Grand National Day. Grand National Thursday is a fantastic day of racing and I really like that Aintree are using this platform to celebrate the best of Merseyside Sport – really pleased to be part of it.”



Aintree Ladies Day Ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek with 2014 Grand National winner Pineau De Re at Aintree Racecourse on Tuesday, March 21 2017 Picture by Colin Lane
Aintree Ladies Day Ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek with 2014 Grand National winner Pineau De Re at Aintree Racecourse on Tuesday, March 21 2017 Picture by Colin Lane

Last year, Liverpool was voted as Britain’s greatest sporting city and Aintree is looking to celebrate that by ensuring as many sports as possible are represented on the day.

Former gymnast Tweddle, Olympic medalist and three-time world champion, said: “I’ve always been a Grand National fan – every year I make sure I watch the Grand National race – it’s the race that stops the nation. When I ask people about Grand National Thursday, they always say what a fantastic day it is, superb racing and their best day of the three.

“I’m delighted to be part of Aintree’s celebration of Merseyside Sport – we certainly have a lot of talented people across many sport which I’m sure will be showcased really well on the day.”

Tickets for the Champions Lounge on Grand National Thursday are limited and priced at £299+VAT. To purchase go to www.randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk or call 0151 522 2911.

Racegoers can also email gnhospitality@thejockeyclub.co.uk or buy tickets directly from the sales office at Aintree Racecourse.

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