The cancellation of Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National will cost almost half a billion pounds in lost revenue, Sportsmail can reveal.
The bookmaking industry will be the hardest hit with the three-day festival at Aintree — which was due to start on Thursday — usually generating a betting turnover of £400million. It is the biggest horse race of the year, and the most lucrative racing event, which attracts a huge worldwide TV audience.
But the impact of not staging the Grand National for the first time since 1945 will also have an enormous effect on the city of Liverpool, Aintree racecourse and The Jockey Club, with £60m lost in projected takings.
This year’s race promised to be one of the most compelling, as Tiger Roll was aiming to become the first horse to win it three times in a row — Red Rum’s historic hat-trick came across five editions from 1973 to 1977. Bookmakers anticipated £300m being wagered on the Grand National.
To give that figure context, £250m was bet on the four-day Cheltenham Festival last month.
Aintree expected crowds of up to 155,000 spread over the three days and all the tickets for Saturday’s major event had been sold out months in advance.
The loss of tickets and hospitality will cost the racecourse, which is owned by The Jockey Club, in the region of £20m. All ticket money is in the process of being refunded.