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Irish racing shut down as more measures announced to fight COVID-19

There will be no more horse racing in Ireland after the Tuesday meeting in Clonmel until April 19...



Irish racing shut down as more...
Racing

Irish racing shut down as more measures announced to fight COVID-19

There will be no more horse racing in Ireland after the Tuesday meeting in Clonmel until April 19 at the earliest, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Racing is the only major sport that has continued amid the coronavirus outbreak with recent meetings being held behind closed doors.

However the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced new restrictions today including the cessation of all sporting events, even those taking place behind closed doors.

Varadkar also announced that outlets such as betting shops are to close which would be a big blow to the industry.

"All theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, hairdressers, betting offices, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut," Varadkar said on Tuesday afternoon.

He added; "All sporting events are cancelled, including those held behind closed doors."

Horse Racing Ireland released a very short statement on Tuesday evening.

"Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) confirm that racing will cease in Ireland as of midnight tonight as per the latest Government guidelines on Covid-19," the statement reads.

"The Board of Horse Racing Ireland will meet tomorrow morning (Wednesday) and will issue a press release soon after."

As well as today's seven race card at Clonmel this week, there was also racing on Monday at Naas racecourse where the flat season got underway.

There was nobody watching the action from the stands, no bookmakers or catering staff on site and there were no owners allowed.

The first behind-closed-doors meeting took place at Dundalk over a week ago and last week and HRI stated their intention to continue without spectators.

"This decision is motivated by the need to maintain employment and incomes for people working in the industry, and on the basis of being able to achieve and maintain all HSE advice and instructions."

Racing in Britain was cancelled last week and until the end of April at least.

“This is a national emergency the like of which most of us have never seen before," said the British Horseracing Authority chief executive, Nick Rust, in a statement released one week ago.

"We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry.

"But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government’s latest advice."

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