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Irish racing return unclear as HRI 'await clarification' around Government's lockdown relaxations

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Horse Racing Ireland have cancelled all meetings amid the current coronavirus crisis. Pic: Caroline Norris

Horse Racing Ireland have cancelled all meetings amid the current coronavirus crisis. Pic: Caroline Norris

Horse Racing Ireland have cancelled all meetings amid the current coronavirus crisis. Pic: Caroline Norris

Horse Racing Ireland are "awaiting clarification" from government officials today (SAT) about the resumption of Irish racing amid confusion around its timeline to recommence based on the Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business.

There are tentative hopes that racing could return as early as May 18 after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that Phase One of relaxations around the Irish lockdown would commence on that date.

Sports such as golf and tennis will be permitted from May 18 onwards and while racing was not specifically mentioned, HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh has stated that they are "racing ready" when government approval is granted to resume.

However, Phase Three of the roadmap stated that "behind closed doors" sporting activities/events where arrangements are in place to enable participants to maintain social distancing were projected to recommence on June 29.

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Racing falls under the Department of Agriculture's remit, though, and hopes are high within the industry that they can meet the criteria needed to return on May 18 having had ten successful behind the closed doors meetings in March and positive Cabinet discussions on the matter earlier this week.

The Irish Guineas meeting on May 23/24 holds a slim chance of getting the green light with the first two Irish Classics likely to be rescheduled for later in the season while the Irish Derby on June 27 is also in question.

Online Editors