Arrests made after fighting breaks out at Aintree

Merseyside Police said eight men were arrested at Aintree on Friday, including four on suspicion of affray and two on suspicion of assault.

A fashionable crowd totalling 44,687 enjoyed an afternoon on what was Ladies Day, but the meeting also saw fighting break out.

Well-dressed racegoers flocked to the Liverpool course for the second day of the Randox Grand National Festival, with celebrities including Olympian Sam Quek among those enjoying the event.

But the day also saw the arrests of a group of men after reports of a fight. Merseyside Police said four men had been arrested on suspicion of affray and two men were held on suspicion of assault after an altercation outside the Princess Royal Stand at 2.25pm.

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Another man was detained on suspicion of a drug offence after being searched near the main entrance to the racecourse, while an eighth man was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

The force also said three drones had been seized after being flown in a restricted area.

Aintree officials passed on their condolences after Giovinco and Pikar suffered fatal injuries in their respective races.

A spokesperson said: “During our first race of the day, Giovinco fell at the last fence and was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals. After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse’s welfare was to put him to sleep.

“Pikar sadly passed away following a fall at the second-last hurdle in the last race of the day, having also been attended to on course by our veterinary team. Our heartfelt condolences are with the connections of both horses.”

Last year, the National itself was delayed by about 15 minutes after activists gained access to the track, leading to more than 100 arrests.

Merseyside Police has warned it will deal “robustly” with any incidences of “anti-social behaviour, hate crime, disorder and other criminal activity” at the racecourse and punters have been subject to security checks, including bag searches.

About 80,000 people are expected to attend the course on Saturday.

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