THE ultra-strict conditions under which racing could resume have been spelt out in an update to owners.
And it has also been confirmed the French authorities are looking to allow British and Irish runners to race across the Channel from June 1.
In an email sent by the Racehorse Owners’ Association seen by SunSport plans to get racing back up and running are outlined.
This week racecourses have been invited to submit expressions of interest to stage fixtures under plans for the resumption of racing.
“This process will support the development of a provisional race programme,” says the email.
“The plan for resumption is based on a phased approach that supports the transition of racing back to a normal fixture list, in a controlled and measured way.
“In the early stages of this model, racing would resume behind closed doors under strict conditions, at locations that meet specific criteria around risk mitigation and infection control.
“This may include full quarantine conditions at secured sites if absolutely necessary, or behind closed doors racing, with sites limited to those that are able to meet strict hygiene conditions, social distancing measures and appropriate medical provision.
“Under the strictest infection control scenarios, attendance at the site(s) would be limited to staff essential to delivering the race fixture.
“These restrictions on personnel will be continually reviewed and gradually eased to accommodate connections, including owners and trainers, in line with Government guidance.
“All locations will need to adhere to stringent medical and risk mitigation protocols, to the satisfaction of the BHA Chief Medical Adviser, to minimise the risk of injury and incident and reduce any unnecessary pressures on local NHS provision.
“Equally, they will also need to follow strict biosecurity protocols to manage risks associated with horse transportation in and out of the site. These protocols are being developed through the Resumption of Racing Group and in collaboration with industry experts and other major sports.”
The email adds: “Our French colleagues are working on a resumption behind closed doors from 11 May.
It will be a step by step process as racing resumes in France with no foreign runners permitted until 1 June.
“However, subject to multiple factors including an easing of government travel restrictions, France Galop hopes to be welcoming foreign runners from that date, when they plan to run the French Guineas.
Germany has also confirmed that foreign runners will not be permitted until at least 22 May (inclusive).”
It goes on to reveal: :To help owners and trainers plan, during the next week we will be developing a provisional programme for the first seven days of racing following resumption – whatever the resumption date.
“We will then subsequently publish the rest of the provisional programme up until the end of June. This will be as close as possible to the original programme for the period, which means we will be looking to stage roughly the same number of races by type, class and distance.”
“We will also look to confirm prize money values as soon as possible. In normal circumstances, racecourses provide approximately half of prize money, but with betting shops, which drive media rights income, closed and no crowds, their contributions will be significantly impacted.
“Every effort will be made to keep prize money as high as possible, but reductions below recent levels are inevitable.”
The email also confirms only experienced jockeys – which includes jockeys who claim a maximum of 3lbs – will be allowed to race and fields will initially be limited to 12 runners.
“Finally, we continue to plan towards a resumption of Jump racing at the beginning of July.
“Following the suspension of racing, we will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until November 30.”
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