Coronavirus death in racing 'only a matter of time' because 'very few' people wear masks, claims leading vet

A LEADING racehorse vet has claimed it is only 'a matter of time' before someone in racing dies from coronavirus.

Peter Ramzan, a partner at Rossdales Veterinary Surgery in racing HQ Newmarket, claimed 'very few' people in yards are wearing masks.

And he added there is a 'near total absence' of social distancing as safety standards allegedly slip.


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Trainers in the town have denied the claims and insisted full security and safety measures are in place.

Ramzan told Nick Luck's Daily Podcast: "My exposure is to Newmarket yards. To date, thankfully, Newmarket has been a fairly healthy little bubble and it's a fairly small community.

"It's a fairly bad look for racing in general when one drives into Newmarket yards, masks are pretty thin on the ground, there are very few people wearing them.

"It's very nuanced and all the baggage that goes with working with a tight group of people, working outdoors, doing a physical job and moving in and out, I get all of that, but it is simply the case that until now a lot of racing staff had been mixing and feeling fairly confident, which builds up a degree of feeling that you are immune.

"Staff are in tack rooms, offices, feed rooms without masks, as well as congregating in the yards with limited social distancing.

"Cases are really going up and we hear on the grapevine of cases here [Newmarket] and at the end of the day it's a respiratory virus, so it's a sensible thing to wear a mask.

"I don't want to get into a big scientific debate about the benefits of wearing a mask, but it's a pretty bad look that masks and social distancing are not being widely used in training yards.

"I think it's fair to say a lot of trainers have done as much as they can, but it still seems like it is a cosmetic thing at the moment and it is starting to jar that racing is not quite following the lead of many other parts of the community.

"We've been privileged to have racing continue, but a lot of yard staff are elderly or vulnerable and it is only a matter of time before we start losing people, and to not do everything possible will seem pretty poor."

Ramzan added on Twitter: "The near total absence of masks & distancing in Newmarket racing yards is becoming a pretty bad look for an industry that has weathered the pandemic admirably well so far."

National Trainers Federation boss Rupert Arnold said in response to the claims: "Everybody knows the protocols.

"All the details are available in our daily advice to trainers on our website. We strongly urge trainers and their staff to follow the protocols to the letter."

Newmarket trainer James Tate said: "We are very strict on mask-wearing.

"I tell our lads they don't need to wear a mask when they ride out, although some of them still do. But around the yard everyone wears them."

Fellow trainer Charlie Fellowes added: "You've got to use a fair amount of common sense, which we try to initiate as much as possible.

"We take everyone's temperatures as they walk into the yard on a morning and evening.

"They are reminded that if they feel or experience any symptoms they are not to come to work and must get a test."


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