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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
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The Aintree Grand National has been cancelled due to coronavirus
Officials accept that it would not be possible to stage the race behind closed doors.

THE 2020 AINTREE Grand National has been cancelled after officials accepted that it would not be possible to stage the historic race behind closed doors.

The Jockey Club made the announcement this evening in light of new public health guidance issued by the UK government in the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

The three-day Aintree Festival, of which the Grand National is the centrepiece, was due to take place from 2-4 April at the Liverpool track.

The decision signals the first time since the end of the Second World War that the race will not take place. The 1993 Grand National was run but the result was declared void following a false start, while the 1997 race was postponed by two days following a bomb threat from the Provisional IRA. 

Tiger Roll, owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, was favourite for this year’s renewal where he was bidding to match Red Rum’s three wins and also become the first horse to win the race in three successive years.

“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,” Sandy Dudgeon, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club said in a statement.

“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.

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“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.”

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