2020 has been one heck of a year. Disrupted, hectic and pretty disappointing doesn’t even begin to cover it. When it comes to horse racing, the sport has suffered considerably but has managed to soldier on as best as possible. But with some seriously major events being postponed, not attended by fans or called off entirely, the sport has lost a lot of its usual charm. With hope of a return to normality next year, horse racing looks to gear itself up to a huge 2021. But what exactly is the plan for the UK’s biggest horse races?
The actual Grand National this year unfortunately was cancelled. It made way for its little brother, the Virtual National. First introduced in 2017, this virtual version of the race has gained some popularity over the years and was seen to be a strong replacement for the actual race this year given the pandemic. However, if you are a sports traditionalist like myself (VAR sucks) then you will be itching to get back to watching the real race again next year. As it stands, current champion Tiger Roll is still on to grab his 3rd and legendary record equalling 3rd Grand National. If he was to make this feat he would equal the record currently held by the famous Red Rum. This prospect is adding some extra excitement to the ‘Big One’ and will be sure to bring in some extra punters. What else are you going to do with that saved up lockdown money anyway, right?
Save the date. The Epsom derby is expected to return next year as well. Held behind closed doors in 2020, the race expects fans to return to the racetrack in June next year. The famous Ladies Day which spectacles high-class fashion, spectacular fascinators and remains one of the best and most famous days out on a British racetrack is hoping to get back to hosting the fans in 2021. Missing out this year only means one thing, the outfits are going to have to be even more spectacular next year!
Known for its high attendance both at the racetrack and on the TV, Ascot really suffered this year from the lack of fans. A delayed and disrupted race went ahead but this famous race was missing its main component, the spectators. As the both literal and metaphorical flat races ran this year, the in-form Stradivarius clenched its third consecutive Gold Cup. This sets Royal Ascot up for a sensational return next year with the horse going for a record equally 4th time. This would be a remarkable achievement in modern age horse racing and sets the race up perfectly for next year. Let’s just hope that this historic and amazing racetrack has its main asset back next year!
Like any sport, without the fans, horse racing is nothing. Whilst the races could still go ahead this year and the sports betting market surrounding the races still being potent, this sport needs a return to normality – here’s the proposed fixture list for next year. Many smaller racetracks are facing tough times with the relinquishing of fans which will only lead to bigger closures in time to come. The betting is keeping the sport buoyant but without fans, the betting ceases so make sure you get involved with all the days tips. As with all sports enthusiasts throughout the globe, we just hope that fans can make a safe and triumphant return to the concourse to cheer on their winning horse over the finish line.