Bookmakers and punters alike will be busily endeavouring to reap the potential rewards from a successful Grand National, as the annual mainstay of the horseracing calendar could see as much as £300m wagered on the eagerly anticipated race. Forty horses are expected to start in the 170th running of the event at Aintree this afternoon, with last year’s runner-up The Last Samuri among the contenders.

Massive crowd expected

Should the excited crowd of an estimated 70,000 fans witness the Kim Bailey-trained horse go one better than last year’s effort though, it would be the first top weight to achieve the feat since the legendary Red Rum back in 1974.

Punters may well decide that at 11st 10lb – a stone more than last year – that may well be a tough ask for jockey David Bass.

football fans expected to back Definitly Red

Instead they may well turn to the likes of the intriguingly named Definitly Red, a horse expected to be favoured by Liverpool and Manchester United football fans to tie in with their clubs’ home colours or perhaps Vieux Lion Rouge, another of the well-tipped fancies.

Novices try a flutter

The race is often the one time during the year when relative novices to sports’ Betting decide to chance their arm or perhaps participate in the office sweepstake, ensuring that a bumper audience is expected to tune in to watch the televised event.

Treadwell forced out of race

One jockey who sadly won’t be able to take his place in this year’s race will be Liam Treadwell, who will be replaced on Tenor Nivernais by Aidan Coleman. Treadwell tasted success in 2009 when the long shot Mon Mome defied odds of 100-1 to roar into the winner’s enclosure and shock the bookies. However, a fall at Aintree on Friday in the Topham Chase whilst riding Bright New Dawn upset his plans and led to an enforced overnight stay in hospital.

Travel disruption expected

Racegoers are facing potential travel problems in getting to the Grand National this year though, as workers at three rail companies – Southern, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North- have taken the decision to go on a 24-hour strike, part of a continuing dispute concerning staffing issues and the role of conductors.

The choice of Grand National day has been taken in the view of the RMT union so as to ensure its members “make the loudest voice possible.” Merseyrail suggested that the choice would do “immeasurable damage” to the reputation of Liverpool on its big day.