The bookmaking industry is expected to open talks with the British Horseracing
Authority and the Jockey Club to see if they can be pushed back a
few days until betting shops are open again.
But with non-essential retail now hopefully open from April 12, the industry could
move the running of the National back – so the bookies can be open.
With crowds not able to attend until at least mid-May, opening up the bookies for
the annual, once-a-year punters to pop into their local bookie would raise welcome
funds for a cash-strapped sport through the Levy.
In normal times, close to £300 million is bet on the race with roughly half the population
backing at least one of the 40 hopefuls.
Even in last year’s Virtual Grand National, approximately £260 million was bet on the
race and then given to charity.
It’s unlikely the race can be pushed back more than a week, with racing’s fixture list long
set in stone.
There would also be safety concerns if the race was delayed much longer, with the
prospect of quick ground unlikely to appeal to many horses and trainers.
The prospect of a midweek Grand National could be on the table, as without spectators
present there would be little to lose on that front
But TV numbers could then take a hit and contractors ITV Racing, as well as sponsors
Randox, would have to give it the green light.