The excitement builds as the Randox Grand National festival gets underway this afternoon at Aintree.

More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the famous Liverpool venue over the next three days after a two-year absence.

All eyes will be focused on Saturday’s main event but there is plenty to look forward to before that.

A full list of events can be seen here.

Thursday – Opening Day/NHS Day

Racing gets underway at 1:45pm with ‘The SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 1’.

‘War Lord’ starts as favourite at 5/2 while Rachel Blackmore will be on ‘Gin on lime’ with a good price at 15/4.

The 3:30pm Aintree Hurdle is the feature race of the day and sees Gordon Elliot’s ‘Zanahiyr’ as the favourite at 2/1 but many have tipped ‘Glory and Fortune’ at 16/1 to spring a surprise.

‘King DArgent’ at 8/1 and ‘The Last Day’ at 11/1 have been tipped to take the 4:40pm race and Paul Nicholls’, ‘Thyme White’ at 16/1 is also one to watch in this.

The final race of the day at 5:15pm sees ‘Rosy Redrum’ favourite at 10/3.

Friday – Ladies Day

Ladies Day draws a bumper crowd at Aintree and is one of the big social events of the year in the Northwest of England.

Fashion is very much in the spotlight and there is a style award for the best-dressed lady on the day.

Racing again starts at 1:45pm with the ‘Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 3’.

‘Cobblers dream’ at 5/1 and ‘Tronador’ at 12/1 look set to be the ones to watch in the opening race.

The 3:30pm race sees the inform ‘Fakir D’Oudairies’ at 13/8, ‘Captain Guinness’ at 8/1 and ‘Saint Calvados’ at 12/1 as potential winners in this race.

The final race of the day at 5:15pm sees ‘Richmond Lake’ at 13/2 heavily tipped.

Saturday – Grand National Day

The main day is expected to be the busiest grand national day Aintree has ever seen.

With no crowds the last two years, many are doing all they can to get tickets for the showpiece event.

The main event where all eyes will be at 5:15pm sees a host of famous names.

Rachael Blackmore will reunite with Minella Times after their 2021 success.

Blackmore became the first female jockey to triumph in the race last year.

‘Minella Times’ is currently priced at 14/1 with trainer Henry de Bromhead impressed with the horse in recent weeks.

‘Delta Work’ beat two-time National winner Tiger Roll at Cheltenham recently and is among the early favourites.

‘Cloth Cap’ at 25/1 is fancied to do well as is ‘Snow Leopardess’ at 7/1.

Eyebrows have been raised at the 66/1 early odds of ‘Samcro’ in what may be his final Aintree Grand National.

A fascinating few days lie ahead and no doubt the bookies are currently rubbing their hands!

(Featured Image by Pete Leydon, Merseysportlive)