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Davy Russell 'optimistic' raci...
Racing

Davy Russell 'optimistic' racing can return ahead of June 29th date

Leading jumps jockey Davy Russell is hopeful that horse racing can resume in advance of 29th June, amid challenges for the industry during the pandemic.

The two time Grand National winner says racing can go quickly behind closed doors, as was the case 10 times before the lock down was enforced.

Racing resumed without crowds in Germany yesterday and is coming back in France on Monday.

It's understood right now that horse racing falls under phase three of the Government's plans to get society back on track, which would mean no activity for nearly two months.

Youghal jockey Russell told Newstalk Breakfast that the racing industry is preparing to go back to work as soon as possible.

"We're ready to go, I don't think we need a whole load of time to prepare because we have been through it already. I am confident that with the talks between Horse Racing Ireland and the Government that hopefully they'll bump us up to phase two, which would bring us maybe back racing late May, early June.

"It doesn't just strike the racing yards, this goes an awful lot deeper. This goes to the breeding industry, down as far as the people that are making the feed for horses, veterinary. There's so many implications for this and I am sure the Government is well aware of that. When we get the green light we can get back up and running and get back to a successful industry that we already have been."

Based on his experience of racing behind closed doors Russell says horse racing is a sport where social distancing measures and proper hygiene protocols can be observed.

"There's stickers and indicators all around the racecourse. You have no other option only to stay to your allocated area. The beauty of a racecourse is there's so many facilities in a racecourse to be turned into a changing room. There's so many toilet facilities, shower facilities in different areas. We actually weren't allowed shower. We were just allowed go in, keep our distance inside and do it that way. It was a bit eerie. It was a bit more like a schooling session rather than a race meeting with no people there. All of the signs and everything were down and even afterwards going into a supermarket I was already after experiencing these things by racing behind closed doors."

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