Horse racing may return in Ireland well before the June 29th date put forward last week by the Government for the resumption of 'behind closed doors' sport.
A statement from Horse Racing Ireland says that the governing body is working with the Department of Agriculture to bring the day that the sport can resume across the country much closer.
The 5km travelling distance seems to be the big problem. Jockeys, trainers, grooms and administration personnel would need to be allowed to travel much further than this distance in order for racing to function properly. But HRI are hoping that they and the government can come up with a plan in the next few days to get the show on the road again.
"In publishing the roadmap last week, the Government stated an appetite to engage and consult with sectors on possible changes to the timings in the plan, and Horse Racing Ireland has been fully engaged in that process this week.", HRI noted.
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"In addition, the Taoiseach stated in the Dail earlier today that the Government would examine proposals from sectors of the economy wishing to have restrictions lifted earlier than scheduled in the Government’s roadmap, and HRI is availing of this offer."
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland said: "Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish racing community are fully supportive of the Government and the Chief Medical Officer for the way in which they have handled this unprecedented public health emergency.
"Through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine there has been constructive engagement with various Government departments this week on the basis that racing will only resume behind closed doors when it is deemed safe and appropriate.
"Prior to March 24, race fixtures were among the last group of Tier 2 commercial activities to continue with ten fixtures staged safely behind closed doors with only key personnel permitted on site. Horse Racing Ireland’s Covid-19 protocols which were in place for those fixtures have been further strengthened in the meantime and we feel that the industry can safely resume sooner rather than later and will continue to engage with Government on that basis."