When was the Grand National last cancelled?
In mid-March, the Randox Grand National Festival, which was due to take place between April 2 and April 4, 2020, was cancelled, in its entirety, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jockey Club Racecourses, which owns Aintree Racecourse, said that it was ‘no longer appropriate to stage the event’, adding that running the celebrated steeplechase behind closed doors was ‘no longer a viable consideration’.
Consequently, the Grand National roll of honour will be without a winner for the first time since the infamous ‘National that never was’ in 1993. On that occasion, a combination of circumstances, including disruption caused by animal rights’ protesters, led to two false starts, the second of which insufficiently signalled by the starter. The majority of the jockeys set off, with several completing the National Course, and the Jockey Club was forced to declare the result null and void.
In 1997, the so-called ‘Monday National’ was postponed by 48 hours after a coded IRA bomb warning, but the race was still run. The last time the Grand National was cancelled outright was in 1945, during the final months of World War II, at which point Aintree Racecourse was still commandeered by the Army.