Security for Saturday’s Martell Grand National at Aintree is tighter than ever in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks

Organisers of the 2002 Martell Grand National have imposed stringent security measures to protect jockeys, officials, horses and racegoers

Superintendent Justine Curran, the police commander in charge of the massive Aintree security operation, said: “There has been no specific intelligence to suggest there is any threat to the National, but we have looked at robust contingency plans with the events of September 11 in mind.”

Helicopters, guard dogs and hundreds of police personnel, both in uniform and plain clothes, were in evidence on Thursday, the first afternoon of the three-day meeting which attracted a record crowd of over 20,000.

At night searchlights are positioned on the course to guard against would-be saboteurs of the famous Grand National fences. Guard dogs are believed to be roaming certain areas of the course after dark.

Racegoers face a rigorous stop and search procedure on entering the course, a feature of the meeting’s high profile security since1997 when the Grand National was postponed because of a bomb scare.

With an anticipated crowd of over 60,000 on Saturday, the police recommend that racegoers arrive in plenty of time.

Read more about this year’s Grand National: