2020 Randox Health Grand National cancelled due to coronavirus

Last Updated 18 Mar 2020 | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering |

This year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak which has swept the world.

The Jockey Club made the announcement on Monday evening following the government’s new public health guidelines which advised against non-essential public travel and social contact.

Jockey Club Racecourses, which manages Aintree, had been considering running the meeting, which includes the world’s most famous steeplechase, behind closed doors.

Sally Dudgeon, Senior Steward of the Jockey Club 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.”

The meeting was scheduled to take place from the 2nd April through to the 4th April, with the feature race positioned to be run on the final day of the Festival.

Grand National Day had already been sold out and will not be rearranged for another date. It was not practically possible to find another date with the National Hunt season concluding at the end of April.

Tiger Roll denied chance to win third straight National

The news is a huge blow to connections of Tiger Roll, who was bidding to win the race for a third straight renewal. No horse has ever been successful for three straight years, a record which will now go on.

It remains to be seen if Tiger Roll will remain in training and have a shot at the 2021 contest. The Irish horse is 10 years old so he is young enough to return next season.

Although no decision has been made about the Punchestown Festival next month, it is unlikely that the horse will feature again this season.

Racing is set to go on until the end of March behind closed doors for now. That decision could well be reviewed over the next few days as the number of positive cases of the virus increases.

Tiger Roll Grand National 2018

Jockey Davy Russell jumps the last fence on Tiger Roll on his way to winning the Grand National horse race on the final day of the Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, northern England on April 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS @SCANPIX

Cost to industry will be huge

The loss of the Grand National is set to hit the industry hard. Around £300 million was anticipated to be staked on the race in the UK this year. The racecourse will need to issue refunds in the region of 120,000 spectators, who had purchased tickets for the three-day Festival.

Although health and safety is the main priority, the marathon contest is one of the highlights of the British sporting calendar for many. This iconic sporting contest is not the first major event to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is unlikely to be the last to fall either.

Latest News

Retiring Power backs Aintree’s future

Grand National-winning jockey Robbie Power doesn’t believe there is a “huge necessity” to cut the number of runners in the Aintree showpiece in the future. Calls have been heard to reduce the field size from 40 down to 30, but Power doesn’t believe such a move is needed. Grand National pedigree Power, 40, became one […]

Waley-Cohen fairytale goes to the wire

Sam Waley-Cohen signed off his career in the saddle with an incredible Grand National success at Aintree that even a Hollywood scriptwriter might struggle to come up with. The amateur jockey, riding in his last competitive contest, won the world’s most famous race. It was a tale barely believable, but that’s what transpired as Waley-Cohen […]

2022 Grand National Results – Winners, Finishers & Fallers

The Grand National always delivers a memorable story, and it delivered two in 2022. Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen drew the curtain on his racing career by steering home 50/1 outsider Noble Yeats to win the 2022 Grand National. That was just half the story though, with Noble Yeats becoming the first 7 year-old horse to win […]