The Aintree Hurdle will now take place on the Thursday of the three day meeting
©Healy Racing Photos
Increased prize money will be on offer at this year's John Smith's Grand National meeting with the Aintree Hurdle switching to the opening day.
Total prize money for the three days now sets a new record at £2,725,000, which represents an increase of £185,000 ( 7.3 per cent) for the three days over 2012.
13 of the 21 races over the three days have seen an increase while the John Smith's Grand National is again worth £975,000.
As well as moving to the Thursday (from Saturday), the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle is now £40,000 more valuable with a prize pot of £200,000.
"We are confident that this switch will greatly strengthen Thursday's card and thereby provide a big additional star attraction on the opening day," said Aintree's Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch.
"It is a formidable day's racing with the Grade One Betfred Bowl, the Grade One Matalan Anniversary 4-Year-Old Hurdle and the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase over the Grand National fences also on the Thursday card.
"Prize money for the Thursday is £695,000, up £130,000 on last year, and we are putting a lot of effort into increasing the attendance towards the very high levels seen on the other two days."
The John Smith's Melling Chase, the feature race on Ladies' Day on Friday, is now also worth £200,000 (from £175,000) while prize money for another race on the card, the John Smith's Topham Chase, jumps from £100,000 to £120,000.
Jockey Club Racecourses' Regional Director John Baker commented: "Aintree and John Smith's felt it was important to increase prize money across the board during the three days of the 2013 John Smith's Grand National meeting.
"The John Smith's Melling Chase and the John Smith's Topham Chase are prime examples of this policy and 13 of the 21 races enjoy higher prize money this year."