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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Join the party: how, where and when to watch the National

The ITV presentation team of Ed Chamberlin, Mick Fitzgerald and Luke Harvey on duty at Sandown
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There is no race in the British calendar quite like the Randox Health Grand National for bringing families and friends together around their televisions to share in the thrilling experience of horseracing.

If you are not fortunate enough to be among the tens of thousands of racegoers packing out Aintree on Saturday, here are the best ways you can enjoy the world's greatest steeplechase.


For older viewers, it will be a case of back to the future as far as the free-to-air coverage of the race is concerned, with ITV taking over the reigns from Channel 4 for the first time since its deal to broadcast British racing came into effect at the turn of the year.

While much of ITV Racing's coverage has taken place on ITV4 so far, Saturday's race (and indeed all three afternoons at Aintree) will be found on the main ITV channel (103 or 178 in HD on Sky).

Saturday's coverage will begin on ITV4 though, with Oli Bell hosting an extended 90-minute edition of The Opening Show to whet the appetite at 10am.

Switch over to the main channel at 2pm, where Ed Chamberlin will guide you though a thrilling afternoon of action with four races, including three Grade 1 contests, leading up to the main event at 5.15pm.

Saturday's live races on ITV

  • 2.25 - Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 3.00 - Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
  • 3.40 - Betway Handicap Chase (Listed)
  • 4.20 - Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 5.15 - Randox Health Grand National (Grade 3)

Alternatively, the Racing UK team over on Sky channel 432 will also be guiding subscribers through the day, beginning with Mark You Card from 10am, which will be broadcast free-to-air.

As with all three days of the Grand National meeting, every race from Aintree will be live on Racing UK, with Nick Luck steering the ship.


The good news for punters planning to take in the race in their local betting shop is that Aintree is not part of The Racing Partnership, so there will be no blackout in Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred or any other shops.

Online punters will also be able to catch the action, with every major firm offering live streaming of races when a qualifying bet is placed (see individual terms for details of qualifying bets).


A large number of pubs across Britain carry Racing UK, while many others may opt to tune into ITV in time for the race.


If you are away from your TV, you can also listen to the big race, with live commentary available on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra.

However you enjoy Saturday's race, make sure you arm yourself with all the information you need, including expert tips and in-depth previews, with the Racing Post, available online from 8pm every night.

Saturday's coverage will begin on ITV4 though, with Oli Bell hosting an extended 90-minute edition of The Opening Show to whet the appetite at 10am
E.W. Terms
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