Grand National course watering begins at Aintree after dry spell

Watering has commenced at Aintree in response to the recent dry spell of weather, which looks set to continue in the coming days.

The extra moisture will prevent the track drying out ahead of the Randox Grand National on April 10.

Cloth Cap could bid to become the shortest-priced winner of the race in 100 years at odds of around 7-2.

Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma has watered both the National and Mildmay courses in light of the current forecast.

“We are watering today – we have put six millimetres on the Grand National course and 10mm on the Mildmay, with the Mildmay good, good to soft in places and the National course good to soft, good in places,” she said.

“We’ve had a couple of warm, dry days already this week – and it is forecast to be dry up until Sunday, with only a few showers around.

The Grand National course

“We’ll obviously keep watching the forecast, but the aim would be for good to soft ground on the National course and the slow side of good on the Mildmay.

“It has been unseasonably warm this week, but then the forecast is for it to be unseasonably cold by Monday – it is Britain in spring after all.”

The three-day meeting begins a week on Thursday, when the card is headlined by the Grade One Betway Bowl.

Cloth Cap and Tom Scudamore team up at Aintree
Cloth Cap and Tom Scudamore team up at Aintree

It will be Varma’s first meeting in her current role, after the fixture was lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic 12 months ago – and a virtual National was held in place of the main event.

The Aintree team has set up facilities at fellow Jockey Club track Haydock Park to house horses from outside Britain, with similar rules to the Cheltenham Festival in place.

“There’s a hotel about a mile away from the track, so we have taken that over – and that will be the Irish bubble,” Varma added.

“Like at Cheltenham, everyone will be tested before travelling over and going home, there will be separate facilities for British and Irish riders at Aintree – and there won’t be any chance to mix.

“It’s just about putting the right protocols in place and keeping everyone safe on both sides.”

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