The Grand National Festival at Aintree, jumps racing's showpiece, has been cancelled

  • The Grand National Festival at Aintree, jumps racing's showpiece, has been cancelled

The Grand National Festival at Aintree, jumps racing's showpiece, has been cancelled

With the Grand National cancelled due to coronavirus, the plethora of bets on Tiger Roll to make history are all void.

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

The Aintree showpiece is said to be 926 per cent more popular than the Champions League final and 171 per cent more popular than Cheltenham's Gold Cup day.

But it won't be the case for the National, where back-to-back victor Tiger Roll was expected to make a strong case for another victory.

"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 (Monday evening) to help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, this is not a viable option", Sandy Dudgeon, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, said in a statement.

The festival, first staged in 1839, was due to be held from April 2 to April 4 at the Aintree course near Liverpool where Tiger Roll would have been going for an unprecedented hat-trick of victories. The latest development came after the United Kingdom government announced new public health guidance that advises against any non-essential gathering.

This news comes after the United Kingdom government issued new public health guidance regarding social contact, limiting non-essential travel and that emergency services will be withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings starting today (March 17).

"There is every chance of him competing and he hasn't got that many miles on the clock", he told the BBC.

He said: "The cancellation of the Grand National meeting is a devastating loss for everyone and will cost the racing industry millions at a time when we are already feeling the strain of a completely decimated sporting calendar - but it goes without saying the treatment and care of those suffering, or potential sufferers, of the coronavirus is paramount and Unibet fully support the decision made by racing's governing bodies".

"Any fixtures that take place in England, Wales and Scotland, initially until the end of March, will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees". Customers are being asked to contact the individual racecourses for further details.