Home Racing UK: AINTREE RACE COURSE: BOMB SCARE AT GRAND NATIONAL UPDATE

UK: AINTREE RACE COURSE: BOMB SCARE AT GRAND NATIONAL UPDATE

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The Grand National, the world’s most famous steeplechase, will be run Monday just two days after it was abandoned by bomb warnings that forced 70-thousand people to be evacuated from the Aintree race course.

The 150th Aintree running of the famous race, first staged in 1839, will be begin at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) Monday after being cancelled for the first time in its history.

British racing is still in shock after the cancellation of its showcase event.

Early Sunday morning saw hundreds of race-goers waiting patiently for Merseyside police to unlock the gates of Aintree’s car parks.

The crowd of 70-thousand was evacuated after two coded bomb warnings — believed to be the work of the Irish Republican Army — were received just 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the race.

The news was all over the papers today, and not just on the sports pages.

Every hotel room in Liverpool was full, forcing many fans to spend the night in emergency accommodation across the city.

Some however were luckier, with total strangers putting people up for the night.

SOUNDBITE:
Q: What sort of night have you had, what’s it been like?
A: We were very lucky in that we got somewhere to stay. We did have a two hour drive around Southport in a taxi trying to find somewhere. Then we phoned the local radio station and someone had phoned in and there was four of us and they put us up for the night. They gave us beds, baths cups of tea, everything.
SUPER CAPTION: Voxpop

SOUNDBITE:
“Some 7-thousand vehicles are in the process of being checked individually. Whilst that is a significant task in anybody’s language, what I can say to members of the public is their vehicles .. the course will be available to them reclaim their vehicles sometime today. I can’t be more specific than that but people will be able to get their vehicles and their property back today.”
SUPER CAPTION: Paul Stephenson, Assistant Chief Constable, Merseyside Police

SOUNDBITE:
“We would however, like to announce that the Martel Grand National, which had to be postponed yesterday because of a bomb threat, will be rescheduled for tomorrow, Monday the 7th of April at 5pm.”
SUPER CAPTION: Charles Barnett, Managing Director of Aintree Race Course

SOUNDBITE:
“Well, the Grand National is a once in a year occasion for many High Street punters — about 15 (m) million people would’ve had a bet and probably up to 70 (m) million pounds turned over. All of those bets will stand on the race when it run on Monday afternoon. Obviously if punters had a bet on Saturday on a horse that now doesn’t line up, then those bets are refundable and their stakes will come back to them.”
SUPER CAPTION: David Hood, spokesman for William Hill

SOUNDBITE:
“Almost certainly. I think people will find this was a distraction for them on Saturday. It is an inconvenience. They won’t be pleased about it but they will still want to have that once a year flutter. So I’m sure that 99.9 per cent of bets will run onto Monday afternoon.”
SUPER CAPTION: David Hood, spokesman for William Hill

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