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Ruby fears Covid will close racecourses

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Ruby Walsh feels that “some racecourses are going to struggle” to stay afloat during unprecedented times. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

Ruby Walsh feels that “some racecourses are going to struggle” to stay afloat during unprecedented times. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ruby Walsh feels that “some racecourses are going to struggle” to stay afloat during unprecedented times. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

Ruby Walsh fears that an 11-week lay-off for Irish racing amid the Covid-19 pandemic could see "a racecourse or two go by the wayside" and be unable to reopen.

Irish racing will recommence on June 8 at Naas after missing 87 fixtures and the retired jockey believes that some tracks will be crippled financially as a result.

The 41-year-old feels that "some racecourses are going to struggle" to stay afloat during unprecedented times and that some may not race again due to the consequences of the current world health crisis.

"Racecourses have lost a lot of meetings already, which means they've also lost the revenue - the sponsorship, hospitality, gate receipts, and media rights," Walsh told Paddy Power News.

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"Some of the tracks that didn't chase attendances, and were happy to rely on the media income, could come under pressure. Most shareholders in small racecourses do it for the love of horse racing. 

"I can't imagine many of the tracks are run as profitable businesses, and most of them are run to reinvest in their facilities and maintain the place. The racecourses that have been spending their income could be in trouble.

"With no gate receipts and a reduction in media rights income, some racecourses are going to struggle. Each racecourse serves its own purpose for its community. However, I'm not sure financially that they'll all be saved. The reality is that a racecourse or two could go by the wayside." 

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