It had to happen.

After a brief attempt to continue the action behind closed doors at Kelso and Wetherby, the British Horseracing Authority ruled on Tuesday that all racing in Great Britain would be suspended at least until the end of April.

The Grand National had been called off 24 hours earlier and even if racing were to resume at the end of next month, it would be virtually impossible to rearrange The World’s Greatest Steeplechase at a later date.

At the time of writing, racing still goes ahead behind closed doors in Ireland but for how long is a matter of negotiation between the Irish Turf Club and the Irish Government.

Prior to the ban being enforced, last Sunday’s meeting at Carlisle went ahead as scheduled with leading trainers like Tom George and his near neighbour Kim Bailey bringing horses up from the Cotswolds and both Evan Williams and Kerry Lee joining the party.

After his First Flow had easily landed the odds of 1/16 in the featured chase, the very much in-form Kim Bailey was full of praise for the Blackwell venue.

He said: “I’m not surprised there are raiders coming here from the South. I like sending runners to Carlisle because it is a real jumpers’ course and sets a splendid advertisement to the sport which other tracks would do well to copy.”

As a spectacle, the most exciting and gripping race of the afternoon had to be the Veterans’ Chase, won last season by Takingrisks en route to winning the Scottish Grand National.

Takingrisks was set to carry a stone more on his back this time around and well though he ran, the extra weight anchored him up the hill for the final time.

In direct contrast, the handicapper had relented in his assessment of the 12-year-old Seeyouatmidnight who in his prime had beaten Bristol de Mai in the Colin Parker Memorial and followed that win with success in the Dipper Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

In recent seasons, though, a series of setbacks had restricted Seeyouatmidnight to a mere handful of races and prior to last month’s return at Kelso he had been absent for 682 days since finishing lame in the 2018 Aintree Grand National.

Seeyouatmidnight had taken a remote fourth at Kelso but again partnered by the rejuvenated Ryan Mania, himself a Grand National hero, the Sandy Thomson trained chaser was unrecognisable as an ageing veteran.

Sent to the van from the start, he jumped and travelled like the proverbial stag and an astonishing leap three out gained him the momentum to finally resist the sustained late challenge of the gallant Greystoke mare My Old Gold.

It never rains but it pours and early on Monday morning Nicky Richards suffered a heavy fall on the gallops and broke two ribs and damaged a shoulder.

He was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary where his injuries were strapped up and, in typical Richards tenacity, was back home later in the day.

He will clearly be very sore for more than a while but I doubt there will be a lot of self-isolation.

Someone who made a welcome return to the winner’s circle at Carlisle was Dale Irving, who had the misfortune to take a painful tumble last summer while taking part in a common riding event and has not been long back in race riding action with Maurice Barnes.

Irving was partnering Oisin for the Barnes stable in the penultimate handicap hurdle and the pre-race support for the lightly raced handicapper suggested that he was fit and ready to go close. So it proved.

Irving timed his challenge to a nicety, poised in the tracks of Dianne Sayer’s Calliope before quickening past the favourite on the run to the line. Well done to both trainer and jockey.

Happily for Dianne Sayer, she gained quick compensation for Calliope’s narrow defeat at Wetherby on Tuesday when Danny McMenamin steered her Oceanus to deserved success in the conditional jockeys hurdle.