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Owners must wait for course re...
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Owners must wait for course returns due to phase 4 delay

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

17:13 16 Jul 2020

Horse racing owners' return to courses has been delayed by the Government's postponing of phase-4. 

It had been hoped that owners could return to Irish tracks on July 20.

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) say that plans were already in place for owners to return on Monday at Ballinrobe and Gowran Park, and screenings had taken place.

Racing has been ongoing behind closed doors since June 8 under strict medical guidelines, and with only key personnel allowed.

The delay to phase-4 of the Government's roadmap also means punters will remain absent from stands until at least August.

Phase-4 is due to see crowds of up to 500 be allowed gather outdoors.

Face masks will remain mandatory for all those working indoors at Irish tracks, or where social distancing is unable to be employed.

"Since we resumed racing in Ireland on June 8 Horse Racing Ireland has kept tandem with the Government’s movement on the Roadmap for Reopening of Society and Business, and will continue to do so," said HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh.

"The decision taken by the Cabinet yesterday to defer Phase 4 of the Roadmap, means we will also, regrettably, have to defer our ambition to welcome owners back to the racecourse from July 20. I understand how disappointing this will be for owners who remain our first priority to return to the racecourse once restrictions are eased.

“Plans were well advanced for this to happen from Monday next at Ballinrobe and Gowran Park, and a number of owners had already completed their online medical screening.

"However, until the number permitted at outdoor gatherings is increased by the Government to 500, only key personnel necessary to run a race meeting will be permitted on site.

"The level of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols since June 8 has been excellent and is appreciated by the Covid-19 teams in Horse Racing Ireland and the IHRB.

"It is these protocols that ensure that we are able to continue to race so it is very important that everybody continues to comply with the rules on the racecourse around social distancing and face masks, and the requirements around pre-health screening."

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