Grand National: Are spectators allowed at Aintree Racecourse for 2021?

Are we facing the prospect of a behind-closed-doors Grand National?

The Grand National is just around the corner and excitement is building here at Paddy Power. We’re delighted to be offering non-runner money back on the big race at Aintree Racecourse – but the 2021 renewal looks set to be different from previous years.

With fans unlikely to be on site to generate an intoxicating atmosphere, we’ll probably have to be content watching from the comfort of our armchairs at home. However, the basics remain the same – 40 runners and riders tackling the legendary fences over 4m 2.5f of stamina-sapping racing.

What happened to last year’s Grand National?

The Grand National was cancelled in 2020 as a result of the United Kingdom entering a national lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

A Virtual Grand National was run in its place using CGI technology and algorithms, with 2019 Welsh Grand National champ Potters Corner emerging as the winner.

When is the Grand National 2021?

The 2021 running of the Grand National will take place at Aintree Racecourse at 5.15pm on Saturday April 10. It’s the crown jewel of the three-day Grand National Meeting.

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Are fans allowed to attend the Grand National 2021 at Aintree?

It looks incredibly unlikely that paying punters will be permitted entry to Aintree Racecourse for the 2021 Grand National. The UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown highlights that limited entry to sporting events cannot take place until May 17 at the earliest. There is set to be a series of test events before that date, however, raising the prospect of the Grand National being designated such status, although that is considered a “long shot”.

Speaking in February, Racecourse Association chief executive David Armstrong said: “I think it’s a possibility, but probably a long shot at this point. It’s only five weeks or so until we get to the Grand National, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for preparation.

“But we’ll certainly be pushing hard for all our major events to be included in that ERP (Events Research Programme), and we would include the Grand National in that. It’s just a little bit higher up the ‘hard-to-do’ list.”

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival went ahead behind closed doors and it – unfortunately – seems the world’s greatest steeplechase will suffer the same fate.

Which horses are running in the Grand National 2021?

The final field of 40 runners and four reserves will not be confirmed until April 8. A total of 106 horses were initially submitted for entry and the weights were announced on February 16. The first round of cuts takes place in early March before a second round of scratchings three weeks later. The five-day confirmation stage is slated for April 5 before the final field is announced.

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What do you think?