Jockey Club Racecourses has revealed that this year’s Randox Health Grand National meeting, scheduled for April 2-4 at Aintree, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The news follows the BHA’s announcement that racing in Britain will continue behind closed doors, though fixtures would be subject to change and possible cancellation.

That sentiment has quickly been proved with the loss of the world’s most famous horse race, won for the past two years by Tiger Roll, now denied the opportunity to emulate Red Rum and record a third victory in the 4m2½f contest.

JCR had been looking into staging the Grand National behind closed doors yet the latest government information and advice meant that this would not be possible.

Sandy Dudgeon, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, said: “The Randox Health 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.”