Sport

Naas and Curragh to the fore as racing returns

Naas and Curragh to the fore as racing returns”

HORSE RACING IN Ireland can return under "strict protocols" and behind closed doors on the earlier date of 8 June, the Government has announced.

Flat racing will dominate the first two weeks of the revised calendar while National Hunt racing will resume with action at Limerick on Monday, 22 June.

"This is a big economic sector worth almost 500 million euros ($540 million) to the economy each year and because people won't be able to travel to race meetings, the amount of movements happening will be very limited", he told a news conference.

Horse Racing Ireland, the sport's governing body, said only key personnel necessary to run each race meeting will be allowed on site where they will be subject to strict Covid-19 protocols. Staff members in attendance will be subject to a health screening in advance and a thermal temperature screening upon arriving at racing venues.

The Board of Horse Racing Ireland met on Saturday to discuss a number of fixture and prize money recommendations.

Speaking on the schedule put in place, while looking further ahead, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: "We are grateful to everybody for the patience they have shown during this very hard time and we will provide every opportunity for essential personnel to fully understand and implement the return to racing protocols".

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Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: "We are grateful to be one of the sectors permitted to go back to work and acknowledge the responsibility on everybody in racing to ensure the events are run in a safe way".

Following the decision to bring forward the resumption date for commencing racing behind closed doors, a new fixture list for the month of June was released.

One suspects that will put the kibosh on too many British and French runners because trainers from those countries might regard sending a horse over for the Irish Guineas as too much faff, particular in the case of a jockey, although it is believed to be small print which HRI is discussing with its government.

Ireland is the latest country to permit horseracing events to resume behind closed doors amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As well as this, Cork racecourse will not be used in June due to it being a temporary COVID-19 test centre.

Among the major racing nations in Europe, racing was allowed to resume behind closed doors in Germany on May 7 and in France on May 11.

The horse industry is worth € 1.5 billion to the economy. "Attendance will be kept to an absolute minimum and Covid-19 protocols will be strictly enforced". The industry supports 29,000 jobs in rural Ireland, and we are the third-largest producer, and largest exporter, of Thoroughbreds in the world, all of which depends on racing taking place on track.

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