The Grand National Has Been Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

by : Lucy Connolly on : 17 Mar 2020 08:04
the grand national cancelled coronavirus 1PA Images

The Grand National has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The horse race, which was due to take place at Aintree on April 4, is held annually as part of a three-day racing event with around 150,000 people in attendance.


A highlight of the nation’s sporting calendar, originally scheduled April 2-4 this year, would have included Liverpool’s Day, Ladies Day, and the Grand National – Europe’s most valuable jump race – but now all three days will no longer go ahead.

Grand NationalPA Images

The Jockey Club, which owns Aintree racecourse, said its decision to cancel the three-day Grand National meeting came after the UK government advised against mass gatherings yesterday, March 16.

In a press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said emergency services would be withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings from today.


He also urged the public to avoid all ‘non-essential’ contact with other people in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, advising the public to avoid visiting pubs, restaurants and bars at all costs.

Boris Johnson coronavirus press conferencePA Images

Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of The Jockey Club, said in a statement:

The Randox Health Grand National Festival was just three weeks away and it’s very clear to us it will not be possible for the event to take place. Public health must come first.

We were working on a plan to stage the Grand National behind closed doors given its importance to the racing industry and beyond, but following the new government measures confirmed this evening to help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, this is not a viable option.

I know this is hugely disappointing news for the many people who work in our sport and the many millions who were looking forward to this year’s event, but very sadly these are exceptional times and this is the responsible thing to do.

Grand NationalPA Images

The sport’s ruling body, the British Horseracing Authority, had previously announced that all racing in the UK would take place behind closed doors from today.

However, while some smaller races may indeed go ahead like this in the coming days, going ahead with one of the biggest sport events of the year without the support of emergency services would clearly not be an option for the Jockey Club.

The world famous National Hunt horse race attracts a worldwide audience of between 500 million and 600 million each year, and is the most popular betting event in the racing calendar.

Tiger Roll grand nationalPA Images

If the race were to go ahead, Tiger Roll – who won the race in 2018 and 2019 – was the favourite for an unprecedented third consecutive victory

It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health, horses


The Jockey Club
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