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banner Friday, 30 March, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
BBC Grand National spectacular
Papillon was ridden to victory by Ruby Walsh in 2000
Papillon was ridden to victory by Ruby Walsh in 2000
It's Grand National day and Grandstand comes live from Liverpool to bring you build-up and exclusive coverage of the biggest horse race of them all.

Aintree's 30-fence marathon continues to captivate a world-wide audience and this year's renewal will be no different.

The BBC team, including Radio Five Live, will be on hand to capture all the stories, features and latest news from the main event as well as the best of the action on Thursday and Friday.

  Live BBC race coverage: day one - Thursday
1435 BST: The Martell Chase Cup
1510 BST: The Martell Red Rum Handicap Chase
1545 BST: The Martell Foxhunters Chase
1620 BST: The Glenlivet Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle

Clare Balding and Sue Barker will present the programme while race commentary will come from Jim McGrath and Tony O'Hare.

A total of 48 cameras, including the view from a jockey's helmet, will be used to cover the race.

Former jockey and commentator Richard Pitman said: "With its worldwide audience including a potential 200m within China this year, added to the established fans from nine European countries, the same amount from Asia, plus the USA and Canada, it is important to wet the taste buds."

Papillon, who won the steeplechase last year, was among the ante-post favourites to repeat that success but Bobbyjo, the 1999 winner, had to be scratched after fracturing his knee.

Despite the uncertainties raised by foot-and-mouth disease, the National has received a welcome boost from Beijing.

  Live BBC race coverage: day two - Friday
1435 BST: The Oddbins Handicap Hurdle
1510 BST: The Martell Melling Chase
1545 BST: The John Hughes Handicap Chase
1620 BST: The Martell Sefton Novices Hurdle
"The television audience was around 450m last year worldwide," said Aintree managing director Charles Barnett.

"This year it is going to China for the first time. That will boost the figure to 650m.

"Broadly speaking, you can see the National anywhere in the world."

A documentary about the Grand National, filmed by a Chinese tv crew and screened by Central China Television, attracted an audience of 170m.

Twelve months ago Papillon landed the biggest gamble in the history of the race when beating Mely Moss by a length-and-a-quarter.

It's odds-on that the 154th running of the National will be just as dramatic.

  Live BBC race coverage: day three - Saturday
1345 BST: The Cordon Bleu Handicap Hurdle
1420 BST: The Martell Maghull Novices' Steeplechase
1455 BST: The Martell Aintree Hurdle
1545 BST: THE MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL
Coverage starts in Grandstand at 1345BST and will include all the day's racing from Aintree.

Race times

1345BST: Cordon Bleu Handicap Hurdle - 2 miles
1420BST: Martell Maghull Novices' Steeplechase - 2 miles
1455BST: Martell Aintree Hurdle - 2 miles 4 furlongs

Then, at 1545BST, the four-mile four-furlong Martell Grand National gets underway.

Papillon made it a one-two for Ireland last year when following in the footsteps of 1999 winner Bobbyjo.

And once again it was a father-and-son combination that won the day with trainer Ted Walsh seeing his son Ruby ride Papillon to victory to match the success of Tommy and Paul Carberry with Bobbyjo.

The race is sure to provide one of the most memorable sporting occasions of the year and the BBC cameras will track all the fallers and finishers as the eyes of the nation once again turn to Aintree.

The Grand National is live on BBC One in Grandstand Saturday 7 April.
BBC Sport Online will stream the race live and it can also be heard on Five Live.

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