By Press Association
The 2020 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree has been cancelled and will not take place on April 4 because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced by Jockey Club Racecourses.
Renowned as the biggest betting event on the racing calendar, this year’s race – the culmination of three days of racing on Merseyside in England – had been due to see Tiger Roll bid to join Red Rum as the only three-timer winner.
A statement from JCR read: “Following the Government’s new public health guidance regarding avoiding social contact and stopping non-essential travel, and its statement that emergency services are withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings from tomorrow, the Jockey Club has decided that it is no longer appropriate to stage the event.
“Jockey Club Racecourses, which runs Aintree and several of the UK’s leading racecourses, had been assessing the feasibility of running the world’s most famous steeplechase behind closed doors with minimal staff on site, but the latest Government information on the measures needed to contain the virus have led it to believe this is no longer a viable consideration.
Senior Jockey Club steward Sandy Dudgeon said: “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.”
Tiger Roll’s owners, Gigginstown House Stud, declined to comment when contacted.