Grand National Thursday: Aintree will host a ‘Celebration of Merseyside Sport’ for Grand National Thursday at the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, 12th April 2018.

One of the best days in British Jump Racing calendar, the newly renamed Grand National Thursday – A Day for Champions will celebrate the many successes of sport across Merseyside and horseracing with a brand new Champions Lounge which will include some of the very best sports stars from across Merseyside and horseracing.

Liverpool FC ambassador Kenny Dalglish said: “I’ve been a big Grand National fan since childhood and having played and managed 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 – I am delighted to be part of it.”

The new Champions Lounge will be located next to Aintree’s Parade Ring and hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker. It will consist of Q&A sessions throughout Grand National Thursday with sporting celebrities representing sports synonymous to success in Merseyside including Liverpool FC legends, Kenny Dalglish, Michael Owen and John Aldridge; Everton FC’s Graeme Sharp and Graham Stuart; horseracing legend, Sir AP McCoy; Olympic Gold Medallist, Sam Quek; Olympic medallist and three-time World Champion, Beth Tweddle; Rugby League Legend, Jon Wilkin; European Champion, Commonwealth gold and World silver medallist, Fran Halsall; Olympic Taekwondo Silver Medallist, Bianca Walden and boxing star Paul Smith.

Beth Tweddle, Olympic medalist and three-time World Champion, commented: “I’ve always been a Grand National fan. Every year I make sure I watch the Grand National – 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.”

Aside from the Q&A sessions and rubbing shoulders with the stars throughout the day, racegoers will receive a Buffet ‘Feast for Champions’ in the Champions Lounge, breakfast canapes, Earl of Derby Grandstand seats, traditional Afternoon Tea, musical entertainment, complimentary racecard and free car parking at one of the greatest horseracing Festival in the world.

Graeme Sharp, Everton FC ambassador, declared: “The Randox Health Grand National Festival is a global event but, as with Everton FC, it’s very much part of Merseyside heritage.

“Merseyside Sport has a lot of be proud of so I’m delighted to be representing Everton FC to help Aintree celebrate it on the first day of the three-day meeting.

“Grand National Thursday is also one of the best days racing in the Jump calendar with four Grade Ones and not to be missed.”

Liverpool was recently voted as Britain’s greatest sporting city and Aintree is looking to celebrate that by ensuring all sports are represented on the day.

Michael Owen, former Liverpool FC and England footballer, remarked: “I am delighted to be part of the new Champions Lounge on Grand National Thursday.

“I’m a massive horseracing fan and the Grand National is such an iconic race watched by millions around the world. I really like the fact that Aintree is not only showcasing the quality of racing on Grand National Thursday, but also celebrating Merseyside Sport on the day as well.”

To celebrate the inspiring successes of Merseyside Invictus Games heroes who participated in the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto in November, Aintree is inviting them to be part of the Champions Lounge to share their uplifting stories.

Karen can usually be found glued to her computer or at the stables. Having edited several national magazines she co-founded Eclipse Magazine in 2008 after realising that many of her friends were nervous about going racing due to lack of information – what to wear, how to bet etc.

She absolutely loves her job (how many people can say that?!) and is truly grateful to all supporters of and contributors to Eclipse Magazine.

If you are reading this she would like to say THANK YOU! (And please spread the word about Eclipse…!!)

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