Behind closed door racing gets full backing

While the Grand National Festival has been lost amid the control measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus, British Racing is set to carry on ‘behind closed doors’.

As and from Tuesday 17th March the British Horseracing Authority has initiated plans to race without spectators in England and Wales, following similar moves in Scotland and Ireland.

Taunton and Wetherby, where they race on Tuesday, will be the first tracks in England to race behind closed doors.

BHA warn of more cancellations

Behind closed doors racing is set to be in place at least until the end of March, though the BHA has also confirmed that some meetings may have to be cancelled to protect industry staff and to free up critical public services during the coronavirus pandemic.

BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust said: “Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities and we’re acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.

“The restrictions we’re putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services.”

Yala Enki Welsh National

Welsh National – Chepstow Racecourse: Potters Corner ridden by Jack Tudor on their way to victory in the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase at Chepstow Racecourse. David Davies/PA Images/Ritzau Scanpix
Yala Enki trailing Potters Corner.

Nicholls behind decision to race in isolation

Britain’s champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls has put his support behind the decision to race on behind closed doors, insisting it remains important for the racehorse population, while also showing that the sport is attempting to do what it can for the greater good amid the current Covid-19 outbreak.

“The horses have still got to be exercised and trained and fed and looked after whether they race or not, so if we can carry on without doing any harm to anyone it’s a good thing,” said Nicholls.

“All the work behind the scenes still has to happen whether we race or not, you can’t just leave the horses in their boxes and turn them out. They still have to be trained, fed and looked after and while we are doing that we obviously want to run if it’s possible to do it.

“Whatever we do in everyday life there is a risk at the moment, we’ve just got to be vigilant and use common sense. I’m sure they are doing the right thing.”

Racing must keep people safe

Ahead of the announcement that the Grand National Festival at Aintree was to be cancelled, Emma Lavelle, president of the National Trainers Federation, insisted that racing has a duty of care to the wider community.

She said racing behind closed doors is a good option at this juncture, whilst reiterating that the sport needs to do everything in its power to ensure it is “keeping everybody safe”.

“In the current climate and with what’s happening both here and across the rest of Europe, it obviously makes sense that we should be taking that approach and keeping everybody safe,” said Lavelle.

“All we can do is look after our staff and look after our horses. The horses still need to be exercised, obviously, and looking after our staff and our horses is the main priority.

“It’s a positive thing for racing to be able to continue, but limiting any risk by reducing by far the number of people that are there.

“It’s extraordinary times and a time when everything is evolving at speed and I think we [racing] have to do the same.”

Grand National last news

Unfortunately, the 2020 Grand National has been cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. However, we will still be able to watch the event on the first Saturday in April this year, when the Virtual Grand National comes to our television screens.

Latest News

Grand National Shocks – 100/1 Aintree stunners

The Grand National has long been regarded as being one of the toughest races to win and it rates as one of the most unpredictable contests on the National Hunt calendar to boot. Shocks at Aintree are not uncommon. We saw one this year as Sam Waley-Cohen marked his final ride in the saddle by […]

Patrick Mullins sees big future for National winner Callaghan

It may be approaching high summer, with The Derby at Epsom looming this weekend and plans for Royal Ascot in a few weeks’ time to the fore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t business as usual for a certain Willie Mullins. The Mullins-trained Rock Road bagged the €60,000 McHale Mayo National, the highlight of the […]

2023 Grand National – Early Contenders

The dust has now settled on the sensational win of Sam Waley-Cohen and Noble Yeats in last month’s Grand National at Aintree. The amateur rider was having the final outing of what had already been an outstanding career when he steered the Emmet Mullins-trained seven-year-old home in front, breaking the trends in the Merseyside showpiece […]
18+ | Commercial Content | T&C's Apply | Play Responsibly | Advertising Disclosure
grandnational.org.uk is an independent professional comparison site supported by referral fees from the sites which are ranked on this site. The sites and information we present are from companies from which grandnational.org.uk receives compensation. This compensation may impact the rankings of the sites. Other factors, including our own opinions, your location, and the likelihood of signing up, may also impact how the ranking of the sites appears to a particular user. grandnational.org.uk cannot and does not present information about every betting/casino site or betting/casino site offer available.