The 2016 Grand National will be run at the later time of 5.15pm, in order to increase the race’s TV audience.
The race has been put back by an hour to “provide an opportunity for more racing fans to watch and listen to the greatest chase in the world, live on Channel 4 and other global media outlets”.
The 2015 race — won by Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell — was watched by 8.9m people on Channel 4, with more than 600m viewers worldwide.
Research has shown that the later time may maximise an even bigger domestic and global TV audience, which will make the race more accessible to watch live. It has also demonstrated that most people don’t currently know the start time is at 4.15, which has also been shown by research on most UK sports events.
“The Grand National is one of the greatest sporting occasions in the world and one of the most-watched TV events of the year. This move will place the National as the fitting climax of the three-day festival, showcasing the race for the widest possible audience and in the most spectacular fashion,” said Ed Havard of Channel 4.
John Baker, regional director of the Jockey Club North West, added: “This is a very positive move for the Crabbie’s Grand National and we’re excited about the possibility of showcasing the greatest chase in the world to a wider national and global audience.
“We’re always keen to explore ways to grow and enhance this superb three-day Festival and we believe that in collaboration with our broadcast partner, Channel 4, and with the backing of the British Horseracing Authority, this is another extremely positive step forward for the ‘People’s Race’.”
A handicap hurdle for conditional and amateur jockeys will be run after the Grand National.
The 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National will be run at 5.15pm on Saturday 9 April.
For more information visit: www.thecrabbiesgrandnational.co.uk