Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2024

Grand National down to 33 runners as horse forced to withdraw hours before Aintree race | Racing | Sport

Chambard has been announced as a non-runner ahead of this afternoon’s Grand National, reducing the number of horses taking part in the race. Trained by Venetia Williams, the horse was a 66/1 outsider for the 16:00 at Aintree.

Having last run at Cheltenham in March, the 12-year-old was pronounced lame and forced to withdraw. As of now, Chambard is the only non-runner in the National, but because there is no reserve system in place, the number of horses drops to 33.

It comes just hours before the big race, with Aintree confirming the ground is soft, good to soft in places following a dry night in Merseyside. Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said ahead of the National: “It was dry overnight and it’s good to soft, soft in places on the Mildmay courses and soft, good to soft in places on the National course. The forecast suggests there could be showers around from mid-morning.”

Place your bets on the 2024 Grand National with bet365

But, the Grand National Festival enters its final day after tragedy marred Friday’s action, with two horses losing their lives. Lucinda Russell’s Giovinco suffered a fall in the first race of day two and was later put to sleep as a result of its injuries. Whereas in the final race of the day, Dan Skelton’s Pikar also endured a fatal fall. 

An Aintree spokesperson said on Friday: “During our first race of the day, Giovinco fell at the last fence and was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals. After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse’s welfare was to put him to sleep.

“Pikar sadly passed away following a fall at the second last hurdle in the last race of the day, having also been attended to on course by our veterinary team. Our heartfelt condolences are with the connections of both horses.”

Away from the course, there were also troubles in the stands, with arrests made after a fight broke out between racegoers. A Merseyside Police statement confirmed an altercation occurred in the mid-afternoon, with one attendee requiring medical treatment. 

It read: “Three men have been arrested on suspicion of affray following a report of a fight at the front of the Princess Royal Stand.”

Racing on day three of the festival gets underway at 1:20 pm, with the Grand National kicking off at 4 pm. 

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