Racing group outlines priorities for resuming racing ‘at the earliest opportunity’

The horseracing industry group, which has been responsible for coordinating work in response to the coronavirus, has outlined the conditions that would need to be met to ensure the resumption of racing ‘at the earliest opportunity’. 

The ten-page plan, released on the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) website, says that racing will “almost certainly” resume behind closed doors, which the group hopes will be by 1 May. It sets out objectives for five key streams of work, including finance, people, equine health and welfare, resumption and recovery.

Speaking on behalf of the group, a spokesman said: “The Industry Group is working hard to meet the needs of the racing industry in this period of great uncertainty. There has already been a huge collaborative effort and this will continue as we move to a point at which we can resume racing.

“We are publishing the plan so that the industry’s stakeholders and participants can see the extensive programme of work that is underway.  We believe this will help avoid duplication and use resources in the best possible way. We will continue to give updates at regular intervals.”

The Group outlined a number of priorities it must achieve to resume racing as soon as possible. This includes:

  • The development of a resumption plan that appropriately reflects government advice in place at the time
  • The coordination of detailed operational planning for a return to racing.
  • The maintenance of regulatory services – stewarding, veterinary and integrity, to prepare for resumption.
  • Ensuring that an appropriate fixture and race programme is in place for racing’s resumption.
  • Liaising with the betting industry and ensure they are engaged around the revised fixture programme and integrated into planning for the resumption of racing.
  • Ensuring that the needs of broadcasters are recognised at an industry level and can be factored into the redesign of the racing programme.
  • Engaging with the HBLB around the fixture programme, to identify prize money requirements and coordinate these in concert with the money workstream above. 

While 1 May has been earmarked as a target for the resumption of racing, the Industry Group said: “We cannot yet set out a timetable for resumption. No one can. Our ability to keep resources in place, horses exercised and ready to return to action, will be tested. The industry’s leaders would like to give more certainty over dates, but it is too early to do at present.”

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