- Quote: ‘In normal circumstances, racecourses provide approximately half of prize-money, but with betting shops, which drive media rights income, closed and no crowds, their contributions will be significantly impacted’ – The Resumption of Racing group
By Andrew Atkinson
Owners and trainers in Britain will be given an update in May – regards to where racing will be staged when it resumes – following the coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown.
The Resumption of Racing group have contacted racecourses to submit expressions of interest to stage fixtures following meetings postponements.
“To help trainers plan, during the next week we will be developing a provisional programme for the first seven days of racing following resumption, whatever the resumption date.
“We will then subsequently publish the rest of the provisional programme up until the end of June.
“This will be as close as possible to the original programme for the period, which means we will be looking to stage roughly the same number of races by type, class and distance.
“Ahead of this, we will issue a fixture cancellation notice for all fixtures that were originally scheduled to take place during May and June.
“This simply reflects the fact that we will be publishing a new provisional programme and does not seek to pre-empt or pre-judge any government decisions around lockdown or resumption.”
Racing in Britain came to a halt on March 17. A return is awaited upon approval from the government and that of meeting public health guidelines.
The Resumption of Racing group consists representatives from the BHA, the Horsemen’s Group, the Racecourse Association and the Levy Board (HBLB).
“In normal circumstances, racecourses provide approximately half of prize-money, but with betting shops, which drive media rights income, closed and no crowds, their contributions will be significantly impacted,” said the group.
“Every effort will be made to keep prize money as high as possible, but reductions below recent levels are inevitable,” they added.
BHA’s chair Annamarie Phelps and chief executive Nick Rust met sports minister Nigel Huddleston to discuss plans for resumption and discussions of the economic impact in racing in the wake of the coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown.
“The Minister is aware of and supports the work being undertaken for resumption at the earliest safe opportunity.
“The discussion outlined that any restart would be subject to advice of public health authorities and could not apply undue pressure on medical services and available testing.
“It also considered how continued exercise of racehorses during the lockdown could reduce the time for competition to resume,” added The Resumption of Racing group.
Pattern and Listed Flat races postponed could be re-scheduled in the second period of May. National Hunt jump meetings are scheduled to resume in July.