The British Horseracing Association has extended the temporary suspension of all horse racing events in Britain due to coronavirus pandemic.
The British Horseracing Association (BHA) has extended the temporary suspension of all British horseracing events and aims to resume racing activities next month.
Extending the suspension
The BHA initially suspended all British racing activities on March 18, due to health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to extend the suspension of racing events came a day before the UK government announced it would extend the lockdown for an additional three weeks on April 16.
While the BHA did not specify when the suspension will be ended, it said that plans are in place so that racing activities can continue as soon as possible and appropriate. In its announcement, the BHA said it hopes to resume racing activities at some point in May, but this will only be possible if its in line with the government’s measures.
The BHA also said that “because of the very strong likelihood that restrictions on mass gatherings will continue” racing would likely take place behind closed doors until June at the earliest. The BHA also said that staff required to operate racing behind closed doors will be subject to “tough biosecurity measures” to keep the health risks to a minimum.
The BHA’s Chief Executive, Nick Rust, said: “We stopped racing in March to protect the health and safety of the public and to limit demands on the NHS. It’s right to continue this suspension until the pressure on the NHS allows for a resumption and we can assure the safety of those taking part.
“We are in touch with government as part of our development of a responsible, coordinated plan for the return of sport when it’s appropriate to do so.
“We’ll continue to develop a range of options drawing on the expertise of our participants and racecourses. But for now, we are all focused on supporting the national effort, maintaining social distancing restrictions and taking care of our people and our horses.”
The impact of coronavirus on horseracing elsewhere
The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching implications for horseracing markets across the globe.
Last month, the Irish government announced a complete shutdown of all sporting events to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The French racing market was also hit by the pandemic after all French racing events were suspended on March 17. As a result of this, the Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) was also forced to temporarily furlough most of its staff.
New Zealand’s racing market was also hit hard after the government banned all indoor and outdoor public gatherings at the end of March. In the US, Churchill Downs Incorporated was forced to postpone the 2020 Kentucky Derby until September and furlough staff across the country due to the pandemic.