Irish Horse Racing to Resume on June 8
by Glenn Baird - May 18, 2020
It was announced yesterday by the Irish government that horse racing would be returning to the country as of June the 8th. This is follows on from the current suspension of all sport in Ireland as a response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Horse racing had been moved behind closed doors on March the 13th, a decision that quickly led to a full suspension of all sport and mass gatherings in the country. Horse Racing Ireland had hoped to see the sport up and running by the middle of April but as the crisis deepened around the world it soon became apparent that this would not be an option.
The update came yesterday that the sport would be allowed to resume as of next month but only with a series of strict limits and measures in place first.
Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “We are grateful to be one of the sectors permitted to go back to work and acknowledge the responsibility on everybody in racing to ensure the events are run in a safe way.
“We know from our own experience in March when we safely ran ten meetings behind closed doors – and from what is happening in other countries like France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and America – that racing can be staged safely within the requirements of social distancing.”
Among other measures all staff will be expected to undergo a health screening test prior to attending and on arrival they will be have their temperature checked, with anyone considered to have a raised temperature denied entry to the event.
Additionally, all on-track personnel, including jockeys and security will be expected to wear face masks.
Social distancing measures will be in place and regular disinfecting of surface areas will be required, as will proper ventilation in any indoor venues.
Kavanagh went on to say: “The decision to allow racing to resume behind closed doors will be welcomed within the industry.
“For flat racing in particular, but also for a significant portion of the National Hunt population, there is a seasonal and cyclical nature to the industry and these are key months in the trade and export of horses with proven form on the race track, as well as a vital period in the sales season.
“These will not be race meetings as you might traditionally imagine them, rather stripped back events which will determine the best horses in various categories, a vital factor for the breeding industry. Attendance will be kept to an absolute minimum and Covid-19 protocols will be strictly enforced.”