| 6.4°C Dublin

Irish racing will continue behind closed doors

 

Close

HRI CEO Brian Kavanagh admitted that the ongoing threat of Covid-19 makes this a “rapidly changing situation”. Photo: Don MacMonagle

HRI CEO Brian Kavanagh admitted that the ongoing threat of Covid-19 makes this a “rapidly changing situation”. Photo: Don MacMonagle

HRI CEO Brian Kavanagh admitted that the ongoing threat of Covid-19 makes this a “rapidly changing situation”. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Racing will remain the only show in town with Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) set to enforce even stricter measures to adhere to Government guidelines regarding the coronavirus as they carry on behind closed doors.

With British racing cancelled until May at the earliest, there were fears within the Irish industry that similar measures would be put in place but yesterday's HRI board meeting - held via video conference - gave the green light for racing to continue without members of the general public.

The first five fixtures to be held behind closed doors were commended by those on site, with leading trainers Gordon Elliott and jockey Davy Russell pleading for things to continue.

The next meeting in Ireland is tomorrow's all-weather fixture at Dundalk, which has been brought to forward the afternoon, while the Flat season will now start at Naas on Monday, to avoid clashing with the Ulster National at Downpatrick on Sunday, as only one meeting will be run each day.

No overseas runners can run here with medical personnel and facilities made available for Government use as necessary while the situation will be reviewed daily.

The huge numbers involved in the industry - many of whom may have been let go if racing had been cancelled - can breathe a sigh of relief for now but HRI CEO Brian Kavanagh admitted that the ongoing threat of Covid-19 makes this a "rapidly changing situation".

"These are not race fixtures as we previously knew them, they are big open-air sites with very few people present and nobody on site if they are not involved," Kavanagh said. "Once a jockey or trainer has finished their business, they are required to leave."

Irish Independent