The announcement that non-essential retail will reopen no earlier than 12th April means betting shops throughout the UK will have their doors shut on the biggest betting day of the year, the Grand National on 10th April.
The suggestion of delaying the Grand National until after the scheduled re-opening of betting shops was mooted by Aintree’s former managing director John Baker, who argued that this would be an option he would have been in favour of were he still at the course.
Speaking to the Racing Post on Tuesday, Baker made a strong case for moving the date of what is arguably the most famous race of them all.
“My personal view would be that these are extraordinary times and Aintree has always been an innovative place. We changed the time of the race, the start and the distance of the race and the fences all to help attract a bigger audience and make for a better race for the Grand National.
“If I was there it would certainly be something that I would be considering.”
However, the Jockey Club moved quickly to quash any rumours that the National could be switched to the following week and confirmed earlier today that the race will go ahead, as planned, on Saturday 10th April.
The 2021 renewal of the Grand National looks like being one of the most open since the turn of the millennium, with Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap currently the 14-1 ante-post favourite to give Jonjo O’Neill a second win in the race after Don’t Push It in 2010. Cloth Cap’s owner Trevor Hemmings, who has tasted National success with Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs in 2011 and Many Clouds in 2015, is bidding to become the most successful owner in the race’s history.