Aintree Grand National may be put back a week to help bookmakers’ shops
BOOKMAKERS hope racing can again demonstrate its flexibility by pushing back the date of the Randox Grand National to ensure betting-shop punters are able to enjoy the annual “celebration”.
This year’s Aintree maratnon is due to take place on April 10 – just 48 hours before high street betting shops could, potentially, reopen under Boris Johnson’s lockdown exit plan.
Ladbrokes Coral PR director Simon Clare is suggesting the sport can show more of that pro-active spirit – and give itself a much-needed financial boost – by delaying the race for a week.
The National is by far the biggest betting race of the year, worth an estimated £300m in turnover, and was among last year’s Covid casualties.
It was last staged in 2019 when Tiger Roll recorded a second successive win.
Clare said: “It is the biggest betting race of the year – the race which millions of people enjoy as a national celebration. It was lost to the pandemic in 2020, and would take place two days before the shops open this year.
“It is the one race where betting shops provide a big service. There are a lot of once-a-year punters who want to come and have a bet on the big race. There’s the celebratory aspect of the Grand National.
“It’s the showcase for racing and for betting so we’d love to see it happen.”
Clare is pinning his hopes on another example of the resourcefulness which has helped the British Horseracing Authority, Jockey Club and other stakeholder administrators plot a path through the pandemic so far.
He added: “Just shops reopening is great – that’s the most important thing.
“The Grand National is the biggest betting race of the year. It’s worth 10 times more than the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is the second biggest, in turnover.
“Obviously, racing has done an amazing job being flexible during the pandemic. It’s been an amazing effort.
“It may not be possible – but if it can be done, it would be fantastic.”
Both Jockey Club Racecourses, who own and manage Aintree, and the BHA have declined to comment as yet about the prospect of any rescheduling.
Rebecca Edmunds of Bryan Smart Racing was named Employee of the Year at 2021 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.
Edmunds will receive £10,000 for herself for winning the title, with a further £10,000 to be shared among her colleagues at the Hambleton stables. She also won the Leadership Award.
Relkadam was an impressive winner of Wetherby’s handicap chase for Great Habton trainer Tim Easterby and in-form conditional jockey Nathan Moscrop, who is enjoying a career-best season.
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