- Quote: ‘Unprecedented and sombre times’ – Nicky Hartery, chairman of HRI
By Andrew Atkinson
Racing in Ireland continues behind closed doors in Thurles on Saturday – despite the coronavirus outbreak – and after meetings in England were suspended until the end of April.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has introduced further restrictions, including a maximum of one meeting a day.
HRI said its decision was taken to maintain employment and incomes for people working within the industry and on the basis of being able to achieve and maintain HSE advice.
Since March 13, five meetings in Ireland have gone ahead – behind closed doors.
Access to racecourses is limited to key personnel – stable staff, jockeys and trainers – with strict protocol, social distancing and sanitisation in place.
HRI restrictions deem racehorse owners will not be allowed to attend meetings.
No evening race meetings will take place. No overseas runners will be permitted in Irish races.
“These are unprecedented and sombre times and we are seeking the best ways to support the racing community and industry throughout what lies ahead,” said Nicky Hartery, chairman of HRI.
“Health and welfare of employees and industry participants is the prime consideration and within that context – we have introduced protocols which can allow racing to continue and thousands of families who rely on the sector to maintain a livelihood.
“This will be kept under review on a daily basis and we are also planning measures for reprogramming fixtures as it becomes required.”