SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

The Duke of Edinburgh

The Grand National falls silent in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh

The Grand National, the world’s most famous horse race watched by a global audience of half a billion people, has fallen silent in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Before the first race on Saturday, jockeys, trainers, owners and racecourse staff observed two minutes silence in memory of Prince Philip who died on Friday aged 99.

Flags at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool have been lowered to half mast, and jockeys are wearing black armbands in memory of The Queen’s husband.

The Duke of Edinburgh was a dedicated and knowledgable horseman, having played polo for many years. He was also well known for his love of carriage riding – a hobby he continued to commit to, even in his final years.

Philip was also a regular at UK racecourses, accompanying his wife The Queen to some of the most prestigious meetings.

In reality, the Duke was not the world’s biggest horse racing fan. When he attended Royal Ascot with The Queen, he was often caught sneaking away to listen to the cricket on the radio.

His longstanding commitment and dedication to one of the sport’s most successful owners was unwavering.

ITV Racing analyst Brough Scott said: “Prince Philip was more than a national treasure. He was a huge adornment to our national life, and indeed to the world of the horse.

“Philip was President of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports and he was a major figure in the horse world, as well as in the real world.

“He was every inch his daughter’s father, and like the Princess Royal, he didn’t waste time with frivolities if they are not needed.

“With horses you don’t want to mess around and be silly with them – you want to get on with it, and Philip was very good with getting on with things.”

40 runners will take part in the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday. The horses have to jump 30 fences over four and a quarter miles in a test of speed, stamina and jumping ability.