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Grand National Festival, one of world's largest horse racing events, starts at Aintree Racecourse

Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse

Aintree kicks off today with bookies expecting horse racing fans to splash out £200million in a huge betting bonanza on the nation’s favourite event.

More than 150,000 racegoers are expected to descend on Liverpool’s iconic course for the three day meet, kicking off with Grand Opening Day today.

Race-lovers will sink 50 million pints of beer, enough to fill 30 Olympic swimming pools, at one of Britain’s favourite race festivals.

Merseyrail has laid on extra trains to and from the venue and will give away 6,000 pairs of flip-flops to help ladies struggling in their punishing high heels.

>. . .The Grand National is one of the most popular UK events with 30m Brits placing bets, and 600m race nuts tuning into telly sets worldwide as 40 runners battle it out over the gruelling fourand a half mile course.

This is despite the average punter waging just £5 on the outcome. . .

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