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British Racing Suspended

Coronavirus takes its toll

The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed that all horseracing in Britain will be suspended with effect from Wednesday.

Two race meetings are scheduled to take place behind closed doors at Wetherby and Taunton on Tuesday, but as of Wednesday, race meetings will cease up to the end of April. The decision will be kept under constant review.

The formal decision was taken by Board of the British Horseracing Authority this morning based on the statements made by the government yesterday and after consultation with senior industry leaders. Medical Advisers to the RCA and the BHA, who have been advising an industry group on the response to the crisis, have also been consulted.

The BHA took the decision to protect essential emergency services and the health and welfare of staff working in the racing industry. Racecourses and racing have obligations to ensure the safety of participants and provide medical cover which clearly cannot be fulfilled in these circumstances. This follows the new advice issued by government yesterday to combat the spread of the virus.

Nick Rust, the Chief Executive of the BHA, said:

“This is a national emergency the like of which most of us have never seen before. We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry. But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government’s latest advice.

“Racing is a family and I know we will pull together over the coming days, weeks and months and support each other. By stopping racing, we can free up medical resources, doctors and ambulances, be they private sector or NHS, to assist in the national effort to fight this virus. And we can support racing industry participants and staff as they face up to the personal challenges ahead and care for their own families.

“There will be difficult months ahead for many of us. We need to focus now on ensuring that we can continue to look after our horses as the virus affects the thousands of participants and staff who dedicate their lives to caring for animals. We need to do what we can to support businesses inside and outside racing and the many people whose livelihoods depend upon this £4 billion industry.

“We are in constant contact with government which understands the very significant consequences of this decision for jobs and businesses. We will work with them to do our best to manage the impact.

“Racing leaders will keep today’s decision under constant review and endeavour to keep all customers, participants, staff and dependent businesses informed as the situation progresses.”

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9 comments on “British Racing Suspended

  1. Lloyd Banks says:

    8 weeks without racing.. Can we follow suit..

  2. IAN says:

    UK punters will still want to have a bet on horse racing. Is this not an opportunity for SA? If we were to have the UK betting into our racing, the pools would be massive….. (as long as racing continues here)

  3. Marina says:

    No reason why we shouldn’t continue racing here. They raced successfully in Hong Kong recently behind closed doors.

  4. Michael Jacobs says:

    Banks are open. Govt departments are open. Retail stores are trading. Public transport continues. Bars and restaurants are doing business. Why can’t racing continue behind closed doors, with limited oncourse participants?

  5. Pieta says:

    Marina, they have tried to race in difficult circumstances ….have you forgotten the armed guard in the no 1 box at PE.?
    I think this is a lot more serious……zero racing coming to SA this week still methinks.

  6. Pieta says:

    Michael, maybe your answer lies with what UK and French racing have just done?

  7. Pieta says:

    You have to take off your hat to Hong Kong racing…absolute forward thinking management…:they understand that their punter pays their salaries and keep them going even if it’s online….they are open with their punter…and need him/her…
    They are so forward in racing….next time they load the horses you will notice AiR FANS at the start….just to cool the perde down……

    Where have you seen that before?

  8. Marina says:

    I’m not just thinking of my entertainment but the loss of earnings for all concerned – grooms, jockeys, owners, trainers and everyone involved. The government is not going to help them

  9. IAN says:

    Where’s the other 7 comments ??

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