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2020 Grand National is off due...
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2020 Grand National is off due to COVID-19 outbreak

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

21:19 16 Mar 2020

The 2020 Grand National at Aintree has been cancelled. 

The national hunt showpiece has been shelved over fears surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus.

It means this year will be the first since 1993 that there will have been no winner of the Grand National, and it's the first time since World War II that the race hasn't be run at all.

In a statement, the Jockey Club said they had taken the decision to cancel the meeting from April 2 to April 4 as they were following the UK government's "new public health guidance regarding avoiding social contact and stopping non-essential travel".

Even the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 didn't stop the running of the National, but coronavirus has.

It means Red Rum's record of three consecutive Grand National victories could be safe for now.

Gordon Elliott's Tiger Roll has won the last two renewals, but will be 11 by the time the 2021 edition rolls around. The last five Nationals have all be won by horses of 8 or 9.

The British Horseracing Authority had followed Horse Racing Ireland's lead by continuing racing albeit behind closed doors.

"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", said Jockey Club Senior Steward Sandy Dudgeon, "Public health must come first."

He added, "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."

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Aintree British Horseracing Authority Gordon Elliott Grand National Horse Racing Ireland Jockey Club Randox Grand National Red Rum Tiger Roll

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