Superstar mare Enable has been retired from racing, ending a record-breaking career.

The six-year-old won 11 Group One races, including a record three King George VI successes, back-to-back Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe victories and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Enable and Frankie Dettori experienced incredible success, but it was confirmed on Monday a sixth-placed finish in the Arc this month was the last race of her career.

Owners Juddmonte confirmed she will start a breeding career next year.

Juddmonte chief executive Douglas Erskine Crum said: "After consulting her trainer John Gosden and his racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid has decided that Enable will be retired from racing and will now join the Juddmonte broodmare band to be covered by Kingman in 2021."

 

Michael Bernard’s colt Nipster shattered the champion owner’s top horse Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid in delivering a 31-1 upset victory in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger at Caymanas Park.

Ridden from off the pace by Linton Steadman for trainer Gary Subratie, Nipster swept to the front inside the final furlong and won the 10-furlong Classic by a length and a quarter over his stablemate and 1-2 favourite Wow Wow in a fast time of two minutes 06.00.

“It’s a bittersweet moment I must say,” a smiling Bernard said. “I really expected and wanted Wow Wow to win so he could continue on his Triple Crown journey, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” he quickly added after watching his two three-year-olds snatch first and second in the JA$3 million (US$21,000) event.

The 20-1 bet Oneofakind was a further half-length behind in third and the even-money second favourite Mahogany struggled to fourth.

Out of the starting gates in pouring rain, 1000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Another Affair, one of four Subratie entries, shot to the front with Wow Wow, the 99-1 bet Green Gold Rush and King Arthur (8-1) tracking.

Another Affair quickened to lead down the backstretch by seven lengths followed by the 2019 Champion two-year-old Wow Wow and King Arthur racing as a team. Green Gold Rush was fourth and as they hit the six-furlong marker, Mahogany, who had entered the backstretch in 10th spot, gained rapidly toward the lead and moved into fifth spot.

Nipster was still not among the front six at the half-mile as Another Affair’s lead shrunk to just over two lengths with Wow Wow poised to pounce while King Arthur and Mahogany closed in to challenge.

Wow Wow’s rider Robert Halledeen, anxious to keep the 2000 Guineas winner on the Triple Crown path, flew past Another Affair leaving the three-furlong marker with Mahogany on his heels and Wow Wow held command at the top of the homestretch.

Heading to the eighth pole, Wow Wow still led and appeared to be safely repelling Mahogany’s challenge while Oneofakind -- widest of all -- looked threatening and Nipster suddenly appeared with a sprightly rail run.

In a flash, Nipster collared Wow Wow and moved clear with the ecstatic Steadman standing tall in the saddle even before the finish as the colt logged his fifth win in 14 lifetime starts.

“From half mile out I saw he (Nipster) had a whole heap of gas that could last out and become a winner,” Steadman said after his second St Leger triumph.

For Steadman, who had also won the 2016 St Leger with Bigdaddykool, it was his first time aboard Nipster in a race but developed a connection with the Casual Trick-Nippit bred colt after two exercise gallops aboard him.

“The horse is an easy horse to ride, quiet and very easy to deal with. He is cool and kind and (as long as) a horse is cool and kind that’s a whole heap of horse,” Steadman added.

Nipster clocked the fastest St Leger win since War Zone’s race record 2:05.2 in 1996 while foiling Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid.

“We are disappointed (for Wow Wow) but I am happy for the owner because he believed in the horse,” was Subratie’s take on Nipster denying Wow Wow the chance at becoming the third Triple Crown champion in four years – after She’s a Maneater (2017) and Supreme Soul (2019) -- at Caymanas Park. 

Leading jockey Dane Nelson produced an aggressive ride that powered the Fillies Guineas winner and big favourite Above and Beyond to an arduous win over rival Another Affair in Saturday’s Jamaica Oaks at Caymanas Park.

Above and Beyond, the 1-2 favourite, only surged to the front in the final strides of the JA$2.5 Million (US$16,800) Classic and won by a half-length over the 6-1 bet Another Affair while becoming the first horse in 11 years to complete the Fillies Guineas and Oaks double. 

The chestnut filly, by Blue Pepsi Lodge out of Rumble, also logged the fastest Oaks winning time for the 10-furlong trip in almost 30 years, stopping the clock at two minutes 06.80 seconds for champion trainer Anthony Nunes. “What a horse race,” Nunes said moments after securing his fourth Oaks triumph.

“Another Affair ran brilliantly. She bounced out of that gate from early and Dane (Nelson) had no choice but to turn into a 10-furlong sprint. Dane did a fantastic job as he always does,” added Nunes, celebrating his 23rd Classic success.

Beaten 6-1/4 lengths into second spot by Above and Beyond in the Guineas a month ago, Another Affair was sent to lead by jockey Robert Halledeen from post-position one, while Above and Beyond from the nine-box approached the first turn in close touch with the trio of Shepanza (3-1) and the outsiders Adore Brilliance (34-1) and Basilicus (60-1) in a cluster two lengths behind.

Another Affair still led mid-race with Above and Beyond at her girth, with Shepanza 2-1/2 lengths further back struggling to keep pace as Nunes’s 16-1 bet Glock quickened in fourth to chase the leaders.

Another Affair accelerated approaching the three-furlong marker and in a flash threateningly kicked two lengths clear of Above and Beyond as Nelson urged the big filly to close the gap.

Posting solid splits of 24.2, 49.1 and 1:12.3 for six furlongs before breezing the mile split in 1:38.4, Another Affair was still running stoutly into the homestretch and appeared very unwilling to relinquish her lead to the Guineas champion.

Nelson, who won four races on Saturday’s card, had already gone for the whip right-handed coming off the final bend but was only closing mildly and didn’t appear to be closing fast enough either when he changed his hold and switched to left-hand whipping heading into the last furlong.

Another Affair began her surrender deep inside the last furlong as the classy Above and Beyond – under Nelson’s vigorous handling -- incrementally wore her down and became the first filly since Saint Cecelia in 2009 to land both the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks.

The win was Above and Beyond’s fourth in eight career starts for owners Rawdon Persad, Vickram Oditt & Rajendra Poonai and gave the 36-year-old Nelson his second Oaks triumph. Her win was the fastest in the Oaks since Godwin Bucknor’s Poorlittlerichgirl won the 1991 edition in the same time.

Nunes, who landed a triple on the 10-race card, also won the co-feature JA$1.5 Million (US$10,000) Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy race with his four-year-old gelding Toona Ciliata snapping the outstanding three-year-old colt Wow Wow’s 11-race winning streak.

The 2-1 bet Toona Ciliata, ridden by Omar Walker, sped to a dominant five-length victory to be undefeated in three starts this year, posting a smart 1:53.60 for nine furlongs and 25 yards.  Wow Wow, the 1-2 favourite, finished second.

The 1-5 favourite ‘Above and Beyond’ delivered an unchallenged victory in the Jamaica 1000 Guineas on Saturday afternoon as champion trainer Anthony Nunes sustained his dominant run in Classic racing at Caymanas Park.

Confidently ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson, Above and Beyond slammed the 14-horse field by 6-1/2 lengths for Nunes’s 22nd Classic triumph in a fast one minute 38.80 seconds in the JA$2.8 Million (US$19.600) one-mile run for owners Rawdon Persad, Vickram Oditt & Rajendra Poonai.

Trainer Gary Subratie’s 5-2 second favourite ‘Another Affair’ was second and denied Nunes the top-three sweep as his long shots Sencity (26-1) and Glock (41-1) snatched third and fourth positions respectively.

It was Nunes’s fourth Fillies Guineas victory after ‘Latonia’ in 2004, ‘Selectabook’ (2013) and ‘I Am Di One’ last year. Nunes has now won five of the last six Classics at Caymanas Park, including his 2019 Triple Crown run with the colt ‘Supreme Soul’.

Breaking smartly from the 14-box, Above and Beyond raced very relaxed with the pacesetters down the backstretch and looked the winner from mid-race.

The chestnut filly, by ‘Blue Pepsi Lodge’ out of ‘Rumble’, cruised to the lead and when she quickened away from the busy Robert Halledeen aboard the chasing Another Affair leaving the half-mile, the picture of her motionless jockey told the story of race control.

Above and Beyond entered the homestretch with a two-length lead and steadily increased her advantage en route to her third win in seven career starts for groom Steven Smith.

The result also closed an afternoon triple for three-time champion jockey Nelson, who had piloted third race winner Generational and KJ Express to victory in the seventh.

Nelson had two previous Fillies Guineas wins with ‘Al Fouzia’ in 2000 and ‘Nuclear Affair’ in 2016 and engaged Above and Beyond in speedy split-times of 23.3, 45.3 and 1:10.2. The big filly still looked strong at the end under Nelson, who had been aboard for her two previous wins.

“Dane Nelson knows her inside out,” Nunes said about the race strategy.

Coming off her fourth place finish behind 2000 Guineas contender Nipster in her July 5 “prep” event, Nunes revealed he stepped up her training programme for the Classic season opener.

“We made sure to bring her over as fit as we could make her and as happy and as healthy as she could be and she did the rest,” said Nunes, who scored four wins on Saturday’s 11-race card. His other winners were ‘Generational’ in the third race, ‘Supreme Soul’ in the fifth and ‘KJ Express’ in the seventh.

Frankie Dettori was left amazed by Enable after riding to a record third King George triumph at Ascot.

The mare finished five and a half lengths clear of second-placed Sovereign and Japan, the only other runners in the event.

Sovereign took an early lead but Enable, ridden by Dettori and trained by John Gosden, comfortably made up the ground before easing to victory.

Dettori is now setting his sights on further success at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

"I love her so much. Three King Georges, it has never been done before. Now we can go for the Arc," said the 49-year-old.

"I spoke to John at length this morning. I'm not going to break her stride. She is very versatile, and she's won easy.

"She's six – she's no spring chicken. To put up a performance like that is great. She's so consistent and I love her."

Gosden said the six-year-old's performance in winning a third King George since 2017 was no surprise.

"She's trained beautifully for this race and she is back in top order. We are thrilled with her and I was expecting to see that," he said.

Supreme Ventures and Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) announced on Monday that purses for the 1000 and 2000 Guineas will be lower this year but in response, it will add an additional $800,000 to their usual contribution.

The races that will be run on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 respectively, are the first classics of the 2020 racing season and will showcase 3-year-old fillies for the 1000 Guineas and colts and geldings for the 2000 Guineas competing over 1600 metres.

The purse for each classic race stands at JMD $2.8 million with SVREL footing the entire bill.

 “Last year SVREL had fronted $2 million with sponsors providing $1.5 million,” said  SVREL General Manager Lorna Gooden. “However, due to the impact of COVID19, companies were reluctant to come on board as they tighten their belts to handle the financial fallout of the pandemic.”

 

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) will be allowed to recover operational costs racked up by the promotions company during the COVID19-related shutdown, from race purses under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with industry regulators.

I remember the days. Individuals weighing all of 80 pounds yelling “go faster” while holding on to me for dear life.

My feelings were ignored because they figured I was strong. The many piggyback rides I’ve given in my life has made me empathetic to the plight of the racehorse.

Recently, stakeholders of horse racing staged a demonstration at Caymanas Park. The demonstration highlighted the uncertainty they face with no idea of when racing will resume. Racing at Caymanas Park had been called off as part of the Government of Jamaica's efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the island.

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), the company behind all betting on horse racing in Jamaica says it understands the frustrations of the racing fraternity and will reopen Caymanas Park as soon as it’s allowed to do so in a “comprehensive manner”.

I hear the plight of the jockeys who aren't earning and the entire industry that is suffering but the horses might not agree.

Think about it, they go through a lot.

Take British racehorse ‘Humorist’ for example. After winning Britain’s richest horse race in 1921, it was revealed that the horse was suffering from tuberculosis and only had one healthy lung.

Can you imagine training while operating on one good lung? Racehorses have to train. That way their chances of winning races are higher. They have to exercise– sprinting again and again. Horses have to listen to their jockey’s instructions and do as they are told. They are told when to hold back, when to run flat out, when to make their move, and when to give up the ghost. Horses, before COVID-19, had no freedom.

Roughly, 70% of a jockey's training is done on top of a racehorse and though jockeys have strict weight requirements, a horse has to deal with them, heavy equipment, and on occasion, added weight for handicapping purposes.

While the jockey's skill at getting the best out of a horse, reading the race right are unquestionable talents and mean a good jockey can beat a bad one, the real stars of Caymanas Park or any other track are the horses.

Horses are the ones that bets get made on. With more and more off-track betting, as well as a full stadium every weekend, there is increasingly more pressure on horses to do well. Owners and trainers invest time and effort and a great deal of money on horses and expect to be paid back in winnings.

When those winnings don't come, you hear of the ugly side of horse racing. Horses die from substance abuse, clearly not self-inflicted, then there is the practice of 'batterying' a horse. That is where you put an actual battery on the horse and allow raw connections to shock the horse into running harder. Then some horses have to be given Lasix in order to stop them from bleeding through the nose during runs. I'm absolutely sure no horse wants to run until he or she bleeds? Other horses die from respiratory, digestive, multiorgan system disorders and limb injuries. Can you imagine being put to death because you have a limp?

The theory of evolution says that humans are born to die but, how many of us fear death? Similarly, horses were born to run but who says they want to all the time and at the behest of a 100-pound weight on top of it? Racehorses contribute a lot to horse racing making them stakeholders too. The least we can do is consider them.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Potters Corner was the victor in Saturday's Virtual Grand National, with the computer-simulated race organised to raise money after the real event was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bookmakers created the initiative and pledged to donate all profits to NHS Charities Together, supporting the National Health Service during the COVID-19 crisis.

The virtual event was televised in the United Kingdom, with all real races suspended at least until the end of April.

Potters Corner, an 18-1 shot before the race, clinched the victory in the closing stages, with pre-race favourite Tiger Roll previously in charge with a mile left before fading.

Tiger Roll ultimately had to settle for fourth behind Potters Corner, Walk In The Mill and Any Second Now.

The virtual field was made up of runners previously expected to take part at Aintree – the race going ahead thanks to CGI and high-tech algorithms.

Tiger Roll would have been seeking a third straight Grand National success had the real race gone ahead.

Venice “Pappy” Richards is statistically the greatest jockey in Southern Caribbean thoroughbred racing history and the story of his death this week in Trinidad and Tobago is heartbreaking.

Barbadian Richards, after enduring months of fading health and failing eyesight, sadly passed away Monday evening destitute and alone in a room at the Hummingbird Stud Farm Stables near Santa Rosa Park in Arima. He was 76 years old.

How could such an icon, a legend of almost 60 years of tremendous contribution to Caribbean horse racing, suffer such an unbefitting departure from this life?

He was quiet but proud and his self-esteem, it seems, prevented him from advertising how tough things got for him.

But his health and physical struggles became highly visible in recent months and surely more should have been done to assist him.

Close associates over his decades of involvement in the Sport of Kings, including iconic Trinidad and Tobago trainer and owner Joe Hadeed and Barbadian champion jockey and trainer Challenor Jones expressed immense sorrow and surprise over the manner of his passing.

The ravages of diabetes and hypertension had left him thin, frail and partially blind and meeting medical expenses had become even more challenging after his employment contract with the Arima Race Club (ARC) was not renewed in January. He had been hired in an ARC consultancy role in T&T in the past decade after losing his gig with the Barbados Turf Club (BTC) at his native Garrison Savannah racetrack.

Richards scored over 1,400 career wins but in reality that figure could well be over 1600 if you add scores of undocumented victories over several years as visiting rider to Martinique and Guyana. Only Jamaican legend Winston Griffiths (1,664 wins) has as many wins as Richards at English-speaking Caribbean racetracks.

He was never interested in becoming a racehorse trainer as many successful retired jockeys had done. Richards was committed to giving back to the art of race-riding and he tutored aspiring riders at Jockeys’ schools in his native Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

En route to jockeys’ championship titles nine times in Barbados and T&T including 1982 when he was champion in both those countries, Pappy Richards was a multiple winner of all big races in Barbados.

In 1989, he completed the Triple Crown – the Guineas, Midsummer Classic and Derby -- with Bill Marshall’s Coo Bird. Richards scored six Derby wins in his career, four in Barbados and two in T&T. Add to that five Barbados Guineas wins, four victories in the Midsummer Classic and four triumphs in the Cockspur Gold Cup, now called the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.

His first Gold Cup win came in 1986 aboard Bentom before steering Sir David Seale’s Sandford Prince to victories in 1989, 1991 and 1992 when the seven-year-old champion posted a record time of one minute 49.20 seconds for the rich nine-furlong event.

Richards also won 85 races in a stint in the United States in the early 1970s making appearances at New England’s Rockingham Park and Suffolk Downs also Lincoln Downs and Finger Lakes.

The Caribbean’s all-time most successful jockey, Patrick Husbands, with 3,370 North American wins and a bundle of accolades in Canadian racing, cites staying close to Pappy Richards, learning from him throughout his growing years, played a big part in making him who he is today.

Husbands admits he “looked up to Venice” when he was developing as a rider.

“Up to this day I still think he is the best rider in the Caribbean,” says Husbands, a record eight-time winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s most outstanding jockey and seven-time champion rider at Woodbine. Richards’s great rival Chally Jones described him as a “fine gentlemen, dedicated” and being the “epitome” of what a jockey represents.

At approximately 5’ 4” tall, Richards maintained a consistent riding weight of between 110 and 112 pounds throughout his career, a demonstration of commitment and discipline.

For his sweeping successes and service to sport, Richards earned from the Barbados Government a National Award in 1991, the Silver Crown of Merit (SCM). He was also inducted into Barbados Racing Hall of Fame and also the racing Hall of Fame for Trinidad and Tobago.

T&T’s ARC has a Benevolent Fund in place to cover racing men falling on hard times, somehow Richards did not appear to have been a beneficiary of this scheme.

The despair over his sad passing extends even to the funeral plans since closure of the T&T Ports due to the COVID-19 pandemic will bar family, friends and well-wishers attending from his native Barbados.

Today marks 25 years since Major League Baseball stars called off their strike, which had resulted in the previous year's World Series being scrapped.

It is also 38 years to the day since the New York Mets were left stunned by the death of one of the biggest names in baseball.

History was made on this day in England at Aintree in 1977, while India's cricketers and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney were both celebrating nine years ago.

Let's take a look back at April 2 in sporting history.

1972 - Baseball in shock as Mets manager Hodges dies

Gil Hodges had been a superstar with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers, and rounded off his playing career with the just-founded New York Mets. An eight-time All-Star, as a coach he added to the two World Series with the Dodgers, Hodges famously reviving the Mets and leading them to a shock 1969 title triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. But Hodges died on April 2, 1972, at the age of just 47, when he suffered a heart attack following a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was his second heart attack: a first came in Atlanta in September 1968, early in his career as manager of the Mets.

1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National

Tommy Stack rode Red Rum to Aintree glory, as the Ireland-bred steeplechaser followed up 1973 and 1974 triumphs at the Liverpool course with an unprecedented third Grand National victory. The feat has never been matched, with Red Rum triumphing against the odds after second-placed finishes in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 12, Red Rum's third success went down as one of racing's most famous wins.

1995 - Baseball stars go back to work

From August 12 1994 until April 2 1995, there was no top-tier baseball in the United States, with MLB stars going on strike in a labour dispute that stemmed from salary-cap proposals that got players riled. The 1994-95 season was abandoned in September, and the strike lasted for 232 days until judge Sonia Sotomayor's injunction against team owners persuaded the players to go back to work.

2011 - India triumph, Rooney treble

India landed Cricket World Cup glory in front of their home fans in Mumbai when the hosts landed a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final. Mahela Jayawardene made a century in Sri Lanka's 274-6 before India reached their target with 10 balls to spare, helped by 97 from Gautam Gambhir and 91 not out from MS Dhoni.

In London, on the same day, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to defeat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park in the Premier League, an important result as Alex Ferguson's team went on to win the title weeks later.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are you need to look back over the archives if you want to get your daily sporting fix.

Well, we've got you covered for Friday.

March 20 boasts a few notable events throughout sporting history, including a number of Grand Nationals, a heavyweight title fight and the retiring of one of basketball's most famous jerseys.

Here are five of the biggest things to happen in sport on this day...

 

1948 - 50/1 shot mare wins Grand National to end 

The 102nd edition of one of the world's most famous horse races saw Sheila's Cottage, ridden by Arthur Thompson, defy odds of 50/1 to win. She was also the first mare to triumph at Aintree in 46 years and only the 12th in the long and storied history of the steeplechase. Thompson and trainer Neville Trump would record a second win together four years later.

1988 - Mike Tyson knocks out Tyrell Biggs

In Atlantic City, Tyson took on 1984 Olympic gold medallist Tyrell Biggs, who was 15-0 since turning professional and was literally head and shoulders above his opponent, standing at 6 foot 5 compared to Tyson at 5 foot 10.

Still, he was no match for the defending WBA, WBC and IBF champion, who left Biggs bloodied and bruised before sending him crashing to the canvas in round seven. The fight continued but Biggs was knocked down again, leading the referee to halt proceedings and ensure Tyson stretched his record to 32 wins from 32.

1990 - Lakers retire Abdul-Jabbar's jersey

Thirty years ago, the LA Lakers retired the number 33 jersey of Karim Abdul-Jabbar, the man still considered by some to be basketball's greatest.

A six-time NBA champion with the Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, a winner of six MVP and two Finals MVP awards and 19 times on the All-Star roster, nobody has worn his number 33 for the Lakers since 1990.

2010 - France clinch grand slam

France won their 17th Five/Six Nations title and completed a ninth grand slam after battling to victory over England in Paris.

Les Bleus had powered through the earlier rounds but were made to work hard by England, who dominated the second half after ending the first 12-7 down but could only earn three more points via the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.

They have not won the championship since.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to leave little in the way of live action on the sporting calendar.

Most events have been put on hold or cancelled across the world due to the spread of COVID-19.

There are still some competitions going ahead on Friday, though, and here are five of the best to look forward to.


Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City - A-League

Australia's top football division continues, albeit with a reduced schedule and games being staged behind closed doors - including both of Friday's matches.

The Mariners will be out to avoid unwanted club history as they host Melbourne City. Alen Stajcic's team are on a nine-match losing run, just one short of their previous worst streak of 10 in a row.

 

Dundalk - horse racing

Horse racing has been suspended in the United Kingdom until the end of April, but Horse Racing Ireland has opted to carry on racing after implementing stringent controls.

Friday's sole meeting will take place at Dundalk, where Cautious Approach, Juliet Rose and Sebs Star are all in action.

Cage Warriors 113 - MMA

Friday's blockbuster will now be held in Manchester after moving from London and is another event being held without spectators in attendance.

Darren Stewart and Bartosz Fabinski meet in the headline fight, while Mason Jones and Joe McColgan will battle it out for the vacant lightweight title.

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs - NRL

The NRL has introduced a self-isolation programme for its players in a desperate attempt to keep games on.

And that means plenty of focus will be on the grudge match between the Broncos and the Rabbitohs, who will both be looking to maintain winning starts to the season.

 

Western Bulldogs v Collingwood - AFL

Aussie Rules football got under way at an empty MCG on Thursday and the action continues with Western Bulldogs taking on Collingwood Magpies.

The Magpies begin their assault for a record-equalling 16th title - and a first in a decade - against their Melbourne rivals at Docklands Stadium.

The Grand National has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Jockey Club has confirmed.

The decision was taken following updated guidance issued by the United Kingdom government on Monday, which advised against mass gatherings.

Race organisers looked at the possibility of conducting the famous steeplechase, which was scheduled for April 4, behind closed doors but did not consider it a realistic option.

Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: "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. 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 to 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."

British Horseracing announced on Monday any meetings scheduled in England, Wales and Scotland up until the end of March will take place behind closed doors.

In a surprising turn of events, Supreme Soul has been cleared of having tick virus marker after a recent test was administered.  The horse has been stranded in the United States since December.

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