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Nine people arrested after protesters access track at Grand National

15 Apr 2023 2 minute read
Police officers respond to Animal Rising activists attempting to invade the race course ahead of the Grand National. Photo Peter Byrne PA Images

Nine people were arrested at Aintree Racecourse after a large number of protesters attempted to gain entry to the track – delaying the start of the Grand National, Merseyside Police has said.

Dozens of activists climbed fences at Aintree, with at least two affixing themselves to a jump using glue and lock-on devices, climate and animal rights group Animal Rising said.

The protesters breached security fences as National runners were in the parade ring, causing a delay of 12 minutes.

Merseyside Police announced that nine individuals who managed to enter the course were arrested.

The force said: “Just after 5pm, a large number of protesters attempted to gain entry on to the course. The majority were prevented from breaching the boundary fencing, but the nine individuals who managed to enter the course were later arrested by officers.”


Sarah McCaffrey, a shopworker and student – and one of those disrupting the track, said: “Whether it’s for food or for fun, our use of animals and nature is symbolic of a relationship beyond broken.

“We’re a nation of animal lovers, but the pain these beautiful creatures experience daily does not do that label justice. We need to find ways of loving animals that don’t hurt them.

“I truly believe that we are a nation of animal lovers, every one of us. I know everyone coming to Aintree to view the races today would say they love the horses; however, the suffering experienced by them should shock us all.

“That’s why I’ve decided to put my body between those horses and death on the racecourse, rather than gamble with their lives.”

Corach Rambler was the winner of the race for trainer Lucinda Russell and jockey Derek Fox.

Successful at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, the nine-year-old was kept out of trouble throughout after starting as the 8-1 favourite, in a race that was delayed by around 15 minutes due to the protests.

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