Aintree are in search for a brand new sponsor following the shock announcement today that John Smiths will no longer be sponsoring the greatest steeple chase in the world!
The 2013 Grand National will be the last to be named after the ale company which has backed the race since 2005, although it will continue to be involved with racing at other tracks.
Cornelius Lysaght, the BBC horse racing correspondent, commented on the BBC website “With the ex-course boss Julian Thick out after the re-structuring of Aintree's parent company, and the British Horseracing Authority's articulate top vet leaving too, this news just adds to the difficulties facing the home of the Grand National.
“It looks like John Smith's has made what is a surprising decision mainly for commercial reasons, though the public image of the race – in which two horses have died in both of the last two runnings – must have been in the brewer's thinking as well.
“With that in mind, it remains to be seen how easy finding a replacement turns out to be.”
John Smith's Karen Crowley said: “The Grand National has been one of the jewels in our sponsorship crown and the decision was difficult to make.”
Aintree chairman Lord Daresbury is confident that the high profile of the race will mean that a new sponsor should not be too hard to find. “I am completely confident the race will attract plenty of new interest,” he told the Times.
It is a shock setback for Aintree and for the 2013 Grand National and although it can be explained by commercial reasons, Aintree officials have conceded that negative publicity has been a factor.