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Calls for 2021 Grand National to be delayed until betting shops reopen

Calls are increasing for the 2021 Randox Grand National to be delayed following the announcement that betting shops will be allowed to reopen from 12th April. Such a delay would provide better public engagement and perhaps more importantly deliver a potential £1 million boost to an industry which has seen finances battered during the course of the pandemic.

Evan Williams, trainer of Secret Reprieve, and Nigel Twiston-Davies have joined an increasing number of industry professionals who are backing the idea of rescheduling the world-famous steeplechase which is due to take place on 10th April.

This view has been echoed by many in the betting and racing industries, including the head of the Betting & Gaming Council who commented that delaying proceedings until the reopening of the high street would surely make the race a large part of a “truly national celebration”.

Boris Johnson announced plans for England’s gradual exit from Covid-19 restrictions earlier this week and this included plans to reopen sections of non-essential retail which would include betting shops on 12th April, just two days after the Grand National is due to take place. As such, racing and bookies would be missing out on a massive slice of revenue on what is the biggest single betting day of the year.

Some proposals include delaying the race by seven days and possibly moving the Scottish Grand National forward to April 10th, this idea winning plenty of support from across the industry.

Trainer Evan Williams said: “As long as the Grand National is held that’s the main thing, but we all have to look at the big picture. If we involve as many people as we can, getting them watching and betting on the race, it has got to be something that is a positive for the whole sport.

“Ultimately, whatever is best for the Grand National is best for the sport and that should be all that matters. I think we should be trying to get as many people supporting it in as many ways as they can.”