Lingering hopes of a 2020 Irish Grand National have been dashed

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has announced that the BoyleSports Irish Grand National will not go ahead in 2020.

The 2019/2020 National Hunt season came to an early close when racing was suspended on March 24 due to Covid-19, precipitating the cancellation of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.

ABOVE: At the announcement in January this year of BoyleSports’ continued sponsorship of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National for another four years were Fairyhouse manager Peter Roe (left), BoyleSports CEO Conor Gray and jockey Robbie Power.

Although it had been intended to run the BoyleSports Irish Grand National as part of an enhanced National Hunt Programme, with unlimited attendances at race meetings unlikely in the current Covid-19 context, and the desire to give trainers as much certainty as possible in relation to the preparation of their horses, the decision has been taken to cancel this year’s running.

The cancellation will see prizemoney lifts to two of the winter’s big staying handicap chases, the Ladbrokes Troytown at Navan on November 8 and the Bar One Porterstown Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse on November 29.

Jason Morris, Director of Racing at HRI, commented: “The decision not to run the BoyleSports Irish Grand National was made to give owners and trainers as much notice as possible, and allows connections firm up their plans for the winter with some certainty. We feel it is appropriate to increase our support to two complementary staying handicap chases in November, and so the Ladbrokes Troytown Chase at Navan on November 8 and the Bar One Portertown Handicap Chase at Faiyhouse the week after, will both become races worth €125,000.”

Leon Blanche, Head of Communications with Irish Grand National sponsors BoyleSports, said: “The BoyleSports Irish Grand National is the greatest jumps race in the National Hunt calendar in Ireland, and the decision to postpone the 150th anniversary of the race is in the best interest of owners, trainers, jockeys, and the racing public. BoyleSports are fully committed to this iconic race and will continue to sponsor the people’s race up to 2024.”

Peter Roe, General Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse said: “The BoyleSports Irish Grand National is known by many as the ‘People’s Race’ so to stage the race at Fairyhouse without that huge community of locals and racing fans, just wouldn’t feel the same. I know that the race will return as big as ever in 2021 and would like to sincerely thank BoyleSports for their loyal support of the race.

“I’m delighted to see that the Bar One Porterstown Handicap Chase, which features on an incredible day’s racing here on November 29, with three Grade 1s alongside it, will benefit from a prizemoney boost.”

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