PLANS are being discussed for the resumption of horse racing in Britain after the coronavirus lockdown.
The Resumption of Horse Racing Group via the British Horseracing Authority said it was continuing to work on a fixture programme which could see racing resume under restrictions.
The intention is to publish a fixture list which will be initially restricted in scale, with a maximum of 12 runners per race.
The last meetings to take place in Britain were at Wetherby and Taunton on March 17, both behind closed doors. Any resumption will be phased and on the Flat behind closed doors, with all plans being subject to Government approval.
An email to trainers said that was “based on risk modelling, which indicates that field sizes of 12 or fewer reduces the risk to participants on the track and assists with social distancing requirements at the racecourse. We recognise that this will increase competition for places, so to help counteract this, we plan to extend the number of races on a card including by staging more divisions.”
It added: “Even though we intend to provide a balanced programme, it is likely that due to competition for places, some horses, particularly those that are lower rated, may find it difficult to get a run in the early stages of resumption. Indeed, this may be similar to the sort of situation that we usually face in the autumn.
“When conditions allow, more fixtures will be added and we also anticipate extending the Flat season beyond its normal end date, and so the connections of such horses may wish to take this into account in determining their plans. In summary, we have tried to reach a balance between minimising avoidable risk and providing as many opportunities as possible for horses to be able to run.
“We have taken in a similar risk mitigation approach in relation to jockeys, with analysis from the BHA’s medical department indicating that the more experienced riders are less likely to suffer injuries. Consequently, only the more senior jockeys will be able to ride under initial plans. This will be reviewed continually as resumption progresses.
“Finally, to further reduce risk for participants of infection from the virus in the early stages of resumption, no individual will be permitted to attend more than one fixture per day.”
On the subject of where and how racing may restart, the email said: “At this stage, we are not ruling out any model for resumption; all scenarios are being considered.