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A record breaking 10million viewers tuned in to watch the Grand National

By Press Association Sport Staff

A record peak audience of just over 10million viewers tuned in for the final Crabbie's Grand National on Channel 4.

The three-day Aintree meeting saw year-on-year increases in daily audience figures and the 10m peak for the feature race not only provided Channel 4 with its largest Grand National audience figure, but it was also the third highest peak for the channel since 2002.

Ed Havard, Channel 4's Head of TV Events, said: "This is a record audience for the Grand National on Channel 4 and one of the highest audiences ever on the channel. It's a tribute to the exceptional work of Clare Balding, Nick Luck, Sir Anthony McCoy and the whole production team who have created some of the greatest racing coverage our audiences have ever seen."

Carl Hicks, executive producer for IMG, feels the figures confirm the new Grand National start time of 5.15pm was a success.

Hicks said: "We are immensely proud, and delighted particularly for Aintree's Rose Patterson, John Baker and the team who have been very supportive throughout the last four years, and were in total agreement about the new start time for this prestigious sporting event.

"I'm and very proud of quality of the output from all our team, not just yesterday but throughout the three and a half years. It's a fantastic team to lead and just a shame that we won't be at Aintree next year.

"The greatest result of all, after the fantastic win for the owners and connections of Rule The World - is that all 39 horses and jockeys came home safe and sound."

The news comes on the back of a total 152,665 people attending the three days of the Grand National Festival.

John Baker, who runs Aintree as North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "We're thrilled more than 10m people just in the UK watched the world's greatest steeplechase at its new time of 5.15pm.

"That is one of the largest viewing audiences in British sport and will normally be Channel 4's biggest of the year across all its programming. The Grand National truly is the 'People's Race'.

"We've enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the team at Channel 4 these past four Grand Nationals and I would like to pay tribute to their professionalism, hard work and world-class production each year. The team and the channel itself have done a huge amount to bring the story of the People's Race to life."

Next year's Grand National will be shown live on ITV as part of a minimum 94 days of British racing that will be shown by the broadcaster in 2017.

"That is the most terrestrial TV coverage of any sport in the UK and a tremendous shop window to attract new fans and partners," said Baker.

"We look forward to the reach, promotion and programming ITV will bring, and building a strong relationship with their team."

Since a series of modifications were made to the Grand National Course in 2013, all 158 runners in four Crabbie's Grand National races have returned safely.

Baker said: "2016 was the fourth Grand National since our £1.5m of important changes on the course and with all horses and jockeys again returning safely those changes are working well.

"I'd also like to give credit to the jockeys for their professionalism in the big race."

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