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Drone gives view of Aintree’s Grand National course

Drone footage of the Grand National Steeplechase course takes viewers over the 16 obstacles of the four and a half mile race.

The footage, filmed as part of the operator’s preparation for an official CAA drone examination, shows the first round of the course and shows which jumps have accounted for the most fallers.

aintree-grand-nationalThe 2014 Festival started off on Thursday with a record crowd of 33,456 attending Grand Opening Day, 1,116 ahead of the previous record crowd for last year’s opening day.

John Baker, Jockey Club Racecourses North West Regional Director, commented: “It is excellent to see so many people enjoying world-class racing at Aintree today on Grand Opening Day.

“The first-day race programme has been improved, with four Grade One races, and we were rewarded with really competitive action and a record crowd.”

A plaque was unveiled at the course in honour of Major Ivan Straker, whose work in attracting sponsorship for the Grand National in the mid-1980s helped to secure the future of Aintree.

Lord Daresbury, who retires as Chairman of Aintree this year after 25 years at the helm, was joined by Major Straker’s widow Tizzy at the official ceremony before racing started on Thursday.

He said: “Ivan Straker gave us such great support with the appeal to raise money to buy Aintree in 1984 and he was instrumental in putting together the sponsorship deal which saw Seagram then Martell sponsor the Grand National for 20 years.”

Reflecting on the tribute to her husband, who died last year, Tizzy Straker added: “He would have been enormously moved and grateful to have such a memorial and very proud of all the development that has gone on at the racecourse to take it forward into the future.

“I know he’d also be thrilled with all the tremendous work done by Peter [Lord Daresbury] and his team here at Aintree.”

The plaque, situated outside the Freebooter Room close to the winner’s enclosure, reads: “Our eternal thanks go to Major Ivan Straker, who, in 1984, introduced Seagram Distillers to Aintree as the sponsor of the Grand National.

“Their financial contribution helped secure the ownership of the racecourse, guaranteed the future stability of the Grand National and underpinned the growing success of the meeting for 20 years.

“National Hunt racing owes a huge debt of gratitude to Ivan.”

• Jockeys Barry Geraghty, AP McCoy and Damien Skehan all received riding bans on the first day of the Festival.

Barry Geraghty was given a one-day ban for careless riding on First Lieutenant in the Betfred Bowl for interfering with the Tom Scudamore-ridden Dynaste and will be banned on Thursday, April 17.

AP McCoy was handed a four-day suspension for excessive use of the whip on Diakali, who finished third in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle. The champion jockey will be unable to ride from Thursday, April 17 to Monday, April 21 inclusive.

Amateur rider Damien Skehan received an 11-day suspension for his ride on Mossey Joe, who was third in the Crabbie’s Supporting The Hillsborough Families Fox Hunters’ Chase, having been judged to have used his whip above the permitted level. The dates of his suspension will be advised by the British Horseracing Authority.

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