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People have just found out why the Grand National has less runners this year

People have just found out why the Grand National has less runners this year

The number of horses from last year's event has been reduced.

The Grand National 2024 will have a slightly different look to last year's event.

The anticipated Grand National takes centre stage this weekend in what is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar.

75,000 spectators, who will have to dig into their pockets for a drink, will attend the event at Aintree, which runs from Thursday to Sunday - with the Grand National itself taking place on Saturday.

The runners will be sent on their way at 4pm today.

Ahead of the Grand National, the numbers of horses has been reduced from 40 to 34.

That's because race organisers are looking to improve the safety of the race, having had a career-high 66 runners back in 1929.

It comes after protests from activists who made their feelings clear within Aintree's grounds.

The format has been adjusted to look after both the horses and jockeys.

Animal right charities claim the Grand National is too dangerous and is not safe for horses involved.

Campaigners often reference the height of the fences, with some measuring up to 6ft - not to mention the exhausting length they must race.

Tighter safety measures have been called for, with charities complaining about the event.

Three horses died in 2023 during the Aintree meeting and four horses died in 2022.

63 horses have now died at Aintree since 2000.

The Grand National 2024. Image: Getty
The Grand National 2024. Image: Getty

On Ladies Day (Friday), two horses died during the horse racing festival.

In a statement, Animal Aid said: "If the death toll was this high in any other 'sport', it would be banned immediately.

"However, because it's 'just' horses being killed, then the racing industry and the government seem content to allow these innocent animals to suffer horrific injuries and die."

An Aintree Racecourse spokesperson added: "During our first race of the day, Giovinco fell at the last fence and was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals.

"After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse's welfare was to put him to sleep.

"Pikar sadly passed away following a fall at the second last hurdle in the last race of the day, having also been attended to on course by our veterinary team.

"Our heartfelt condolences are with the connections of both horses."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Horse Racing