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Grand National 2020 cancelled over coronavirus outbreak

Staging the event behind closed doors was ‘no longer considered a viable option’ by organisers

Tom Kershaw
Monday 16 March 2020 21:45 GMT
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Grand National cancelled due to Covid-19

The Grand National, due to take place on 4 April, has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, with staging the event behind closed doors “no longer considered a viable option”.

A decision to call off the Aintree meeting, which hosts the sport’s most renowned race, was taken after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced mass gatherings could no longer be supported by emergency services during the escalating Covid-19 outbreak.

The government also advised against all unnecessary contact and non-essential travel, leaving organisers with no choice but to take the “hugely disappointing” decision.

A statement released by Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward at the Jockey Club, read: “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.”

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