IT'S always one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar, and this year's Grand National will be no different.

As ever it's an open race, making it a delight for the once-a-year punters who make the annual trip to the bookies just for this event - here's all you need to know.

When is it on?

The race gets underway at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14.

Where can I watch it?

ITV1 are showing the race, along with the afternoon's other action at Aintree.

Their coverage begins at 2pm - for those keen on a bit of early morning inside info, 'The Opening Show' is on at 9.30am.

How many horses are running?

Forty horses will start the race, with a few on the reserve list in the event of any non-runners, and let's hope all of them finish safely.

Here's a full list of the runners and riders:

1) THUNDER AND ROSES 10 10-05 Mouse Morris JJ Slevin

2) BLAKLION 9 11-10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies

3) ANIBALE FLY (FR) 8 11-08 Tony Martin IRE Barry Geraghty

4) THE LAST SAMURI (IRE) 10 11-08 Kim Bailey David Bass

5) VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 9 11-07 Henry de Bromhead IRE Keith Donoghue

6) TOTAL RECALL (IRE) 9 11-05 Willie Mullins IRE Paul Townend

7) ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR) 8 11-04 Mouse Morris IRE Rachael Blackmore

8) PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE) 11 11-03 Fergal O'Brien Alain Cawley

9) SHANTOU FLYER (IRE) 8 11-02 Richard Hobson James Bowen

10) TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) 11 11-01 Venetia Williams Tom O'Brien

11) CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE) 12 11-01 John Kiely IRE Mark Walsh

12) VICENTE (FR) 9 11-00 Paul Nicholls Nick Scholfield

13) TIGER ROLL (IRE) 8 10-13 Gordon Elliott IRE Davy Russell

14) REGAL ENCORE (IRE) 10 10-13 Anthony Honeyball Richie McLernon

15) VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR) 9 10-13 David Pipe Tom Scudamore

16) CHASE THE SPUD 10 10-12 Fergal O'Brien Paddy Brennan

17) WARRIORS TALE 9 10-12 Paul Nicholls Sean Bowen

18) SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT 10 10-12 Sandy Thomson Brian Hughes

19) GAS LINE BOY (IRE) 12 10-11 Ian Williams Robbie Dunne

20) THE DUTCHMAN (IRE) 8 10-11 Colin Tizzard Harry Cobden

21) PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE) 10 10-11 Willie Mullins IRE David Mullins

22) UCELLO CONTI (FR) 10 10-10 Gordon Elliott IRE Daryl Jacob

23) SAINT ARE (FR) 12 10-10 Tom George Adrian Heskin

24) BEEVES (IRE) 11 10-10 Jennie Candlish Sean Quinlan

25) RAZ DE MAREE (FR) 13 10-09 Gavin Cromwell IRE Robbie Power

26) I JUST KNOW (IRE) 8 10-08 Sue Smith Danny Cook

27) VIRGILIO (FR) 9 10-08 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton

28) BAIE DES ILES (FR) 7 10-08 Ross O'Sullivan IRE Ms Katie Walsh

29) MAGGIO (FR) 13 10-08 Patrick Griffin IRE Brendan Powell

30)PENDRA (IRE) 10 10-08 Charlie Longsdon Aidan Coleman

31) BUYWISE (IRE) 11 10-08 Evan Williams Adam Wedge

32) CHILDRENS LIST (IRE) 8 10-08 Willie Mullins IRE

33) LORD WINDERMERE (IRE) 12 10-07 Jim Culloty IRE Andrew Lynch

34) CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE) 9 10-07 Stuart Coltherd Sam Coltherd

35) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) 11 10-07 Venetia Williams Charlie Deutsch

36) BLESS THE WINGS (IRE) 13 10-06 Gordon Elliott IRE Jack Kennedy

37) MILANSBAR (IRE) 11 10-06 Neil King Bryony Frost

38) FINAL NUDGE (IRE) 9 10-06 David Dennis Gavin Sheehan

39) DOUBLE ROSS (IRE) 12 10-06 Nigel Twiston-Davies Jamie Bargary

40) ROAD TO RICHES (IRE) 11 10-05 Noel Meade IRE Sean Flanagan

In the event of withdrawals...

42) DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE) 8 10-04 Sue Smith

43) WALK IN THE MILL (FR) 8 10-03 Robert Walford

44) VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE) 8 10-03 Sue Smith

Who should I back?

Before we go any further, here are the thoughts of the Taunton Racecourse and County Gazette columnist Martin 'Higgsy' Higgs...

"Looking through the cards there are plenty of H on H’s Cheltenham selections heading to Liverpool.

Firstly Petit Mouchoir, he ran far too freely at Cheltenham and Aintree will suit him better.

I am also not going to give up on Redicean; I feel he will be a different horse on a flat track and better ground, while Louis Vac Pouch has won at Aintree and, though it didn’t work out for him at Cheltenham, he is only six and has a big race in him.

Now to the big one.

Firstly I think we need to discuss Total Recall. He fell in the Gold Cup and if you look through his chasing record he has run nine times, fallen twice and unseated rider once.

He could be anything but can I back him as favourite for the National, sorry no!

I will start you off with Tiger Roll (11/1) who won the Cross Country at Cheltenham.

He will stay, has a good racing weight and has Davy Russell on board so he will do for starters.

Second up is the The Dutchman (25/1), with Colin Tizzard looking for a Grand National/Gold Cup double.

He looked a world beater when he won the Peter Marsh at Haydock, there are reasons for his disappointing last run and he is worth a punt to create the dream.  

Another horse for the short list is I Just Know (20/1), in the hands of Sue Smith who knows how to train a Grand National winner.  

Finally the ‘long shot’ Virgilio (100/1), who is trained by Dan Skelton, has had a wind op since his last run in December and looks to have been trained for the race.

So there you have it, four for the National.

I will however leave you with a fact: I picked the winner of the National last year.

That was the first time for 28 years and because it was the name of my incredibly more astute Father, so I am convinced that was due to divine intervention and sympathy from above.

Is it time this year for my superior knowledge, intelligence, unaffected enthusiasm to prevail and give us a winner...?"

For what it's worth (not much), here at the County Gazette sports desk we are also getting behind Tiger Roll (11/1).

Our each-way shouts are Seeyouatmidnight (16/1) and Carlingford Lough (50/1).

Here are the current odds courtesy of Bet365:

Somerset County Gazette:

Good luck!