This Year’s Grand National cancelled due to virus

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) – Britain’s most iconic horse race and betting bonanza the Grand National has been cancelled as the coronavirus pandemic further decimated the nation’s sporting calendar on Monday.

The Jockey Club announced the news in a statement, hours after the British government ramped up its response to the health crisis sweeping the world.

“Following the Government’s new public health guidance regarding avoiding social contact and stopping non-essential travel, and its statement that emergency services are withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings from tomorrow (Tuesday), the Jockey Club has decided that it is no longer appropriate to stage the event,” it said.

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.

Not just a wildly unpredictable horse race that attracts punters who never usually place a bet, the gathering is one of the highlights of the British social calendar, with thousands, especially from the north of England, descending on the course near Liverpool to wine and dine and try their luck.

Monday completed an almost clean sweep of British sporting fixtures cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak which has killed 55 people so far in the country and more than 7,000 worldwide.

The University Boat Race held on the River Thames, like the National something of an institution, was also cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.

“Given the unprecedented situation our country and each of us as individuals faces, the public good far outweighs all other considerations,” Robert Gillespie, chairman of The Boat Race Company Limited, said in a statement.

The Premier League and Football League seasons have been suspended, as has rugby.

The cancellation of the Grand National is a huge blow to British horse racing and to the betting industry which enjoys one of its busiest days at Aintree.

Last year an estimated 300 million pounds ($367.98 million)was wagered on the four-mile, 514 yards slog which features 30 fences including the brutal Becher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn. Around 500 million people tune in to watch the race.

Earlier on Monday, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced that all racing in Britain would take place only behind closed doors from Tuesday.

The Jockey Club said it had considered holding the race without fans on the course but that was no longer viable.

“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,” Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said. “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 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.”

58 horse entered to compete in Marston’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National

copyright Pixabay

The Martson’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National will take place on Saturday, March 16th at Uttoxeter. The 50th anniversary of the race has 58 horses entered. The Midlands Grand National is the top horse race of the year held at Uttoxeter Racecourse. The event is run over four miles and two furlongs as horses race for a piece of the £150,000 prize fund. With 58 competitors entered into the race, there are plenty of options for horse race bettors. Horse race fans can use WV horse betting and wager on the outcome of this year’s exciting Midlands Grand National.

The marquee race held at Uttoxeter attracts top names. Leading trainers from Ireland and Great Britain will descend on the racecourse for the Class 1 chase.

Midlands Grand National – What is it?

The Midlands Grand National is one of the top steeplechase races on the British racing calendar. A number of former winners have gone onto success in the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It ranks as one of the most exciting race days each year due to the top horses, jockeys, and trainers that compete.

The racecourse features 24 jumps and a distance of four miles and two furlongs. Horses five-years old and above can enter the race.

Midlands Grand National – Top Horses

Nineteen of the 58 horses entered into this year’s race carry a BHA rating of 140 or more. Horse racing fans will see some of the most exciting staying steeplechase horses running in the race.

One of the early favourites is Yala Enki. Trained by Venetia Williams, Yala Enki has seven career wins. The horse’s last victory came in November at Bangor. That victory saw Yala Enki take top prize in a three-mile Handicap Chase. Yala Enki holds the highest BHA rating of the horses running at 155.

Cheltenham Festival – Recent news

Despite holding the highest BHA rating, Yala Enki is not the favourite according to leading sportsbooks. That honour goes to Robinsfirth. The 154-BHA rated horse is trained by Colin Tizzard and goes into Uttoxeter at odds of 8/1, according to top bookmakers.

Midlands Grand National 2018 champion, Regal Flow, finds himself down the odds list of leading bookies. The former winner is 40/1 to win the race for a second straight year. Regal Flow will be joined by 28/1 odds listed horse Milansbar. The Neil King trained horse finished second at last year’s event. It was the second time Milansbar finished as runner-up at the race.

Midlands Grand National – Can Regal Flow repeat as winner?

Regal Flow will attempt to do what no horse has done in the previous 49 editions of the Midlands Grand National. He will try to win it for a second time. No horse has won the race more than once, which may indicate why leading sportsbooks have given Regal Flow such long odds for a former winner.

Trained by Bob Buckler, Regal Flow will be 12-years old when he takes to the Uttoxeter Racecourse. Since winning last year’s edition of the Midlands Grand National, Regal Flow has finished no higher than fifth place in his last six races. Regal Flow last ran in January at Taunton finishing fifth. Buckler will hope his 12-year-old can surprise everyone on race day and take top-prize once more.

Blaklion a Huge Player in the Grand National


The British Grand National takes place at Aintree in April, and as ever there has been a lot of talk about the runners taking part in the race. Many have already had their last preparation run ahead of the event, while some will be doing that at the Cheltenham Festival instead. One horse who has been towards the head of the betting market for the race for a long time now is Blaklion, and he looks to be a huge player in the race.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained nine-year-old has a lot going for him this season, and it is hard to envisage him not being involved at the end of the 2018 edition of this great race. The only slight concern over him was his run in his last race, where he finished 54 lengths back in second. However, the testing going that day was so bad that just three horses completed out of the eight that started, and that is enough to warrant giving him a second chance. He would have not been 100% fit that day either – his trainer will have left something to work on – whereas when Aintree is here, he is sure to be the fittest he has ever been for a race.

Prior to that run at Haydock though, he showed us all why he is so well fancied for the Grand National, with a string of great efforts. He began his season with a great run in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, staying on really well over an inadequate trip of three miles to finish second behind stablemate Bristol De Mai. That was a great run to kick start his campaign, especially over a distance that was too short for him; he is a very strong stayer and three miles at Wetherby is no longer what he needs.

In his next run, he went to Aintree for a second look at the Aintree Grand National fences. This was in the Becher Chase, a race over slightly further than the Charlie Hall Chase, with three miles and two furlongs being the trip this time around. He jumped the big fences brilliantly, and won this race with ease – nine lengths was the official distance on the day. If there was any doubt that this horse was a Grand National contender, then this was the day that everyone took note of his performance, and he was propelled to the front of the betting market.

The experts at Timeform have their betting tips ready of the Grand National, and they will be able to highlight other horses that have a chance as well as Blaklion. One thing you do need if you are to win this race is a huge slice of luck, and that is what makes the race so appealing to punters, because absolutely anything can happen. Blaklion has the form in the book, is the right age and has past experience over the big fences. However, if a horse falls in front of him, or he is pushed wide by something, all could be over before it has begun, such is the nature of the Grand National.

As the race draws closer, many people will be placing their Grand National bets, with Blaklion sure to be a popular choice. Many people backed him last season when he finished fourth, and those are likely to follow him again, as he did nothing wrong on that day. Being a year older and wiser, combined with the great form he has shown so far this season is enough to put him right in the mix, and providing no accidents occur, he should give you a huge run for your money in the big one in April.

The Grand National stops the UK for a brief period, with many once a year punters placing their bets on the horse they believe will take the spoils. Blaklion is a horse that right now looks to have a great chance, and one that can be backed with confidence. Although, like every horse in the race, he is going to need a huge amount of luck to navigate around Aintree safely.

Who will take the Grand National trophy home?

by International Correspondent

This is one of the most frequently asked questions these days. Although lots of us would like to get an answer immediately but we will have to wait for the 14th April, the Grand National Day. Although it is a 3-day event, our primary focus will be on the finals day. For those who may watch this event for the first time, it is a two-lap race. 1st lap has 16 gates, while 2nd has only 14 (riders have to miss out two gates in 2nd lap). Aintree racecourse is one of the most exciting racetracks ever. In fact, it has 6 famous fences. Although not the toughest, the most known fence of the course is ‘Foinavon fence’. This fence got its name after a horse ‘Foinavon’ which avoided mass pile-up on the 23rd fence and took the trophy for itself. If you don’t believe in miracles, you better start. Odds for Foinavon to win were 100/1. He was an outsider. The 1967 race is remembered for this and perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the event.

Another famous fence is fence number 15, ‘The Chair fence’, which is 5ft 3in high. It is the highest fence of the course and is well known because, unfortunately, two jockeys were killed here. Joseph Wynne and George Ede died at this fence in 1862. Another rider Paddy Farrell fractured his spine in a fall at The Chair fence. However his efforts led to the creation of the injured jockeys’ fund.

There is no better way to increase the excitement of this race then betting on it. If you want to improve your chances of winning, you might look into Grand National free bets. You can check the latest Grand National betting offers here like Get your money back if your horse doesn’t run by Betvictor or Coral’s Faller money back offer. There are many more such exciting offers available online here.

Here are some interesting facts about Grand National History. The oldest horse to win this race was Peter Simple at the age of 15, while the youngest was 5 years old (5 of them). 48 winners were 9 years old and that is almost 30% of all time winners. The race was ended before 9th minute only once in history (2015 Many Clouds) of the race. Abd  El-Kader, The Colonel, Reynoldstown and Red Rurn were the only horses to win back to back titles. 5 times in the history, winner was an outsider with an odd of 100/1. The most recent outsider to win was Mon Mome in 2009. Leighton Aspel, Irish Jockey won back to back titles in 2014 and 2015, but with two different horses – Pineau De Re and Many Clouds. George Stevens won most titles (5). He rode 5 Grand National winners: Freetrader (1856), Emblem (1863), Emblematic (1864), The Colonel (1869 and 1870).

Now let’s talk about this year’s prediction. My tip would definitely be Blaklion. He is 9-year-old horse. He has total 24 runs, winning 9 of them and as first runner up in 5 other. His win percentage is incredible 37% percent. So he has lot of experience, which is necessary for a big competition like this one. The stats are also on his side, as mentioned earlier; almost 30% of winners at the Grand National were 9 years old horses. With the current odd of 10/1, it is also bookies first pick. Second pick from me would be The Last Samuri, horse who managed to finish 2nd in 2016 Grand National. After bad 2017 where he finished 16th, this year might be his. Odd of 16/1 seems interesting and definitely worth to try. If you are really optimistic, you may want to try betting on Alpha Des Obeaux, French 9-year-old horse who claimed 5 trophies in his career.

Although it is not clear who will win this year’s Grand National event, one thing is sure. We will have an opportunity to watch great and exciting 10 minutes of horse racing. If you like to read more about this event you can find relevant news on

Handicapping England’s Major Spring Races

HorseRace via BetfairBy U.K. Correspondent

Horse racing’s most exciting season is coming up in the U.K. While American fans and bettors may focus more on U.S. races (and particularly the Triple Crown), there are plenty of incredible contests in England during the spring. The bulk of these take place at the Royal Ascot, the Grand National, and, beginning in just a week, at the Cheltenham Festival.

All told, these events include six major races that receive international attention: four at the Cheltenham Festival along with the signature contest at the Grand National and Royal Ascot. For full handicapping on each of these races, we’ll refer to Betfair’s early odds listings and previews for each individual contest. But for an overview for American fans regarding how each race should be looked at, here are some of the favorites and noteworthy factors in play.

Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

Faugheen is the undefeated favorite for the Champion Hurdle, which caps off the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. With 11/8 odds and an unblemished record, the horse is a logical choice to back, though this field isn’t without strong challengers. The New One (7/2), Jezki (9/2), and Hurricane Fly (11/1) round out the top-four in terms of betting odds, and each stands a legitimate chance. If you’re looking for opportunity in the field, keep a close eye on Jezki. Quoted by Newstalk just this week, trainer Jessica Harrington claims her champion (Jezki won the 2014 Champion Hurdle) is even stronger this time around.

Champion Chase (Cheltenham Festival)

At the Champion Chase, current handicapping has one-time champion Sprinter Sacre out in front with 14/5 odds. However, while it’s a shame to bet on an animal’s poor health, this may be an event to look for a more ambitious backing. Sprinter Sacre missed the 2014 Chase with health problems and only began his comeback recently. Sire de Grugy (7/2) and Dodging Bullets (11/2) are both reasonable plays, while Champagne Fever (also at 11/2) can never be counted out.

World Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

This is one prestigious contest where the betting appears to be wide open. Zarkandar and Saphir Du Rheu lead the way, each with 5/1 odds, but neither looks to be a sure thing. Rock On Ruby (8/1) and Lieutenant Colonel (10/1) may ordinarily be dark horses, but they have a chance to distinguish themselves in this field, and Annie Power (28/1) is a decent long shot. A look at BBC Sport’s recap of last year’s World Hurdle is a nice reminder that when Annie Power finished as runner-up in 2014, it was the mare’s first ever defeat. Given good health on race day, 28/1 may be an appealing shot to take.

Steeplechase grass flying Gold Cup (Cheltenham Festival)

With 10/3 odds, Silviniaco Conti is a strong outright favorite for Cheltenham’s Gold Cup. There’s not a whole lot of use getting creative in handicapping this race, as no one else appears to be a serious contender. However, Road To Riches (12/1) and defending champion Lord Windermere (14/1) are worth consideration for those simply looking for underdogs. In fact, a healthy defending champion at 14/1 is a fairly rare opportunity.

Grand National (Grand National)

The Grand National’s signature race is a longer way off, with still a month to go, which means there’s time for outcomes, tune-ups, and health issues to impact the odds. However, as things stand, Shutthefrontdoor has been the listed favorite for some time and remains on top at 10/1. Rocky Creek (12/1), Balthazar King (18/1), and Spring Heeled (24/1) round out the top-four. Pineau De Re, winner of the 2014 Grand National, may be the most interesting long shot, at 28/1 odds, but Shutthefrontdoor is beginning to look like a clear-cut favorite.

Royal Ascot (Royal Ascot)

Finally, there’s the Royal Ascot in early June, which more or less finishes off the primary horse racing season in England. And like the Grand National, it’s farther off, meaning there’s more time for things to change between now and race day. But at this early stage, the top contenders stand as such: Leading Light (3/1), Forgotten Rules (16/5), and Estimate (4/1). For an idea of just how close this contest could be, read through CNN’s recap of the event in 2014, when Leading Light just edged Estimate for the win.