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Racing: Martell Grand National: Plan Ahead

DESPITE last year's chaos when the race was declared void, the Grand National remains the world's greatest steeplechase. Interest in this huge test of horse and rider shows no sign of waning and Aintree is preparing for a large crowd on 9 April.

The course at Aintree has plenty of parking and has very good links with the motorway system, situated a mile from the M57 and M58. The course is well served by train.

British Rail offers a luxury journey for travellers from the South- east, starting at London Euston, to and from Lime Street station in Liverpool. Passengers complete the trip to Aintree from Central station, a short walk from Lime Street. For pounds 100 (the 1992 price), the traveller receives a full breakfast with champagne and a four- course dinner on the return trip, arriving in London at 10.30pm. All seats are non-smoking.

Aintree also offers hospitality packages. A luxury day out with County Stand badge and reserved dining in a marquee on the Paddock lawn costs pounds 185 plus VAT per person.

For atmosphere and value, the Steeplechase enclosure, with increased facilities this year, affords views of Becher's Brook and the Canal Turn. Similarly, the Central enclosure provides views of The Chair fence and the finish.

Martell Grand National, Aintree, 9 April.

First race 1.45pm, Grand National 3.50pm, last race 5.20.

Train: Mersey Rail from Liverpool Central to Aintree (journey time 12 minutes). Station is opposite course. Road: the course is north-east of the city, one mile on A59 from the M57 (which links with M62) and M58 (M6). Airports: Liverpool International is 20 minutes from course, Manchester 40 minutes.

Admission: Queen Mother Stand pounds 55. County Aintree roof pounds 60. Queen Mother Stand roof, County Stand roof, and reserved seat in the County Stand pounds 55. Glenlivet Stand pounds 40. County Enclosure pounds 29; Paddock enclosure pounds 16 adult, pounds 4 child. Western enclosure pounds 8 adult, pounds 2 child. Central enclosure pounds 9, pounds 2; Steeplechase enclosure pounds 5, pounds 2. Postal applications accepted up to 21 March. The Aintree Racecourse Company Ltd, Aintree, Liverpool L9 5AS (Tel: 051-523 2600).

Parking: County sold out; Western pounds 13; Central pounds 11; Steeplechase pounds 7.

British Rail luxury train (071-388 0519).