British Horse Racing Suspension Extended Amid COVID-19 Concerns

UK Epsom Downs(Reuters) – British horse racing will remain suspended beyond April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said on Wednesday.

Racing activity was suspended last month until the end of April before the government introduced lockdown measures.

The BHA said in a statement https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/bha-extends-suspension-of-racing that it had not set a new date for ending the suspension but plans were in place so that the sport was ready to resume as soon as is possible.

“The BHA has been working with trainers, racecourses and other participants to develop a phased plan for resumption which will allow the sport to transition back to its normal fixture list later in the year,” it said.

“Our plans continue to allow for a resumption in May, if that’s possible. We assume it would be behind closed doors only, at a point when the safety of participants can be assured and the pressure on the health service allows.

“Because of the very strong likelihood that restrictions on mass gatherings will continue, the BHA has decided that racing with crowds will not be possible until June at the earliest.”

The BHA said tough biosecurity measures would be in place to keep any risks to a minimum once activities resume.

Reported cases of the new coronavirus crossed 2 million globally and more than 131,100 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT on Wednesday. [nL3N2BY1AH]

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

British horse racing ready to figure out COVID-19 resumption plans

Racing has been suspended until at least the end of April amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the last meetings in Britain at Wetherby and Taunton on March 17, both behind closed doors.

The government has indicated there will be no imminent lifting of the lockdown measures that have been in place in Britain from March 23, with the current restrictions including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

Horses continue to be trained and exercised. Racing is continuing in Hong Kong, Japan and Australia under strict biosecurity protocols.

The sport’s Resumption of Racing Group – established by the COVID19 Racing Industry Group – has been working with horsemen, racecourses and others on a plan to resume racing on the Flat behind closed doors as soon as that becomes possible.

A statement from RORG said the focus was on establishing criteria to determine the conditions under which racing could resume.

“The group continues to focus on a framework that will enable racing to be ready to resume on daily basis in a phased and controlled way as soon as possible,” the statement said.

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