Brexit is dominating the news right now, however could the vote have an impact on this year’s Grand National line-up?
The Brexit debate rages on and the implications for UK horse racing in general remain unclear, however there has been movement on the bookmaker front with Paddy Power slashing their odds further to just 8/1 (from 16/1 just a few days ago) that no Irish horses will run in the 2019 Grand National. This clearly indicates that the likelihood is high that there will be minimal disruption to the race with regard to runners from the Republic of Ireland but it also indicates that the disruption caused by the Brexit negotiations may well have a negative impact in the future, if not in the 2019 Grand National then possibly in the rest of UK racing. Indeed in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, then racing in this country could find itself in the eye of a very ferocious post-Brexit storm.
Had Theresa May’s Brexit deal been approved by the House of Commons, then the free movement of racehorses and breeding stock would have continued as before, however parliament’s emphatic rejection of the deal brings the prospect of a no-deal exit from the EU a step closer and with it the anticipated disruption that such an occurrence will bring.
With regard to horses travelling between the European Union and the UK, there should be little change in the shorter term in the event of a no-deal Brexit given that the same laws will apply as before. Nevertheless if the EU decides to implement border controls, then these horses may find that there are issues regarding their return home from the UK. An even worse scenario would be that the UK isn’t granted ‘third country’ status by the European Union thus preventing any exports to the EU taking place whatsoever, an unlikely scenario but one which has yet to be ruled out.
Worrying times indeed!
The Grand National is without a doubt the most popular horse race in the United Kingdom, however this year’s renewal of the race may well have no Irish-trained horses taking part due to the result of the Brexit vote.
In the 2018 Grand National, there were 15 Irish-trained horses taking part out of a field of 40, the largest number of Irish horses thus far in the event. The 2018 winner – Tiger Roll, who is trained by Gordon Elliot – is based in Ireland and while this runner is current ante-post favourite to repeat his victory of last year, the possibility remains that he won’t make an appearance to defend his crown.
Bookmakers have slashed the odds on no Irish-based runners making an appearance in the 2019 Grand National, Paddy Power going just 16/1 (from 33/1) that this proves to be the case after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was roundly rejected by Parliament last week. The unrestricted movement of horses might now be affected due to the deal not being accepted.
With the likelihood of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit coming our way and the ensuing political chaos which it might entail, it is looking more likely that there will be no Irish-trained horses at the 2019 Grand National.
Betting experts are clearly hoping that any effect will be minimal and that the 2019 Grand National Festival won’t be affected too much, however most pundits are predicting that the face of the sport could be changed in the future.
The odds suggest that the absence of all Irish-trained horses at this year’s Grand National is very unlikely, at least for the time being. Let’s hope that this remains the case!