Coronavirus: Grand National cancelled

Omnisport

The Grand National has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Jockey Club has confirmed.

The decision was taken following updated guidance issued by the United Kingdom government on Monday, which advised against mass gatherings.

Race organisers looked at the possibility of conducting the famous steeplechase, which was scheduled for April 4, behind closed doors but did not consider it a realistic option.

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Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: "The 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."

British Horseracing announced on Monday any meetings scheduled in England, Wales and Scotland up until the end of March will take place behind closed doors.

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