The new advert for the 2015 Grand National was released last week (Friday 20 March) but has left H&H fans bemused — as the advert features cartoon unicorns.

The 60-second animation, produced by Nexus, launched on Channel 4 at just before 9pm.

According to Channel 4 the film “tells the story of ‘The Outsider’ — a unicorn foal with underdeveloped wings and a twisted horn who is shunned for being different but fights with grit and determination to become a magnificent and unique racehorse”.

The campaign aims to “inspire a new generation of horse racing fans by showcasing the speed, stamina, strength and determination of a Grand National-winning racehorse”.

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John Baker of Aintree racecourse said: “The Channel 4 team has once again come up with a thrilling and innovative piece of television that creates a colourful and near epic fantasy to depict and convey the very spirit and essence of what the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival is all about.”

However, H&H fans appeared less than convinced.

“It’s slightly weird,” said one Facebook user. “Looks like a My Little Pony advert,” said another.

And it has certainly divided opinion. “It’s rubbish” and “It’s a joke” were two comments.

However, some were more in favour: “Must be just me then, I thought it was quite good,” said one.

The promo’s score was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by an orchestra of 30 musicians and was composed to “evoke the stamina of a racehorse while reinforcing the grandeur of the Grand National”.

Nexus directors Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes said: “We were tasked by Channel 4 to inspire a new generation of horseracing fans ahead of this year’s highly anticipated Grand National.

“In order to capture the nation’s imagination and heart, we tell the story of an unlikely hero’s epic journey, defying the odds to become a champion racehorse.

“We follow our hero as he desperately tries to run with the herd, stomping through the undergrowth and never giving up, before overcoming his disadvantage and taking a giant leap into a brave new world where he finally belongs.

“The script from 4Creative was a rare opportunity to tell an emotive short story, and our main challenge was to pack in as much action into a 60-second spot, while leaving enough room to get to know and empathise with our hero.  We really hope it strikes a chord with new and die-hard racing fans alike.”

Crabbie’s Grand National Festival is broadcast live on Channel 4 from (9-11 April).