British Horseracing Authority Releases Schedule as Courses Reopen Next Week

  • Races will take place without spectators
  • The first meeting is set for Newcastle on June 1-2
  • Safety guidelines must be followed including screening, social distancing, PPE
  • Sportsbooks are prepared to get back to business, offering wagers on June 15
Horse race on grass track
The British Horseracing Authority has announced a tentative schedule as courses are set to reopen next week. [Image:]

Plan for meetings revealed

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has released a tentative race schedule for the summer. The plan for 292 meetings is now available as courses get ready to reopen next week after the COVID-19 shutdown. The BHA provided technical guidelines to allow British racing to take place behind closed doors safely, and which staff and participants must follow.

Races will now begin again on June 1

Racing was suspended on March 18 in Great Britain, after meetings without fans in the stands were initially considered. Races will now begin again on June 1. The schedule will follow a strict timetable for the sport to return free of spectators.

British racing schedule details

The first of the 292 meetings will be held between June 1-2 at Newcastle. Kempton Park will also run on June 2. Many race events will take place unchanged from their original schedule, including The York Ebor and Glorious Goodwood meetings. All races will have 72-hour declarations in place starting in June.

According to the BHA, the races in both Wales and Scotland are provisionally scheduled. There will need to be a consultation with the local government before the events are confirmed.

Races may resume if the government agrees that restrictions can be relaxed based on the second step of the coronavirus recovery strategy, which includes professional sporting events.

Guidelines call for a list of individuals attending the meetings. The BHA requires information on screening, social distancing measures, and personal protective equipment.

Creating the guidelines

Public Health England officials and a group of medical experts collaborated to create the guidelines for horse racing to resume. Dr Jerry Hill, the chief medical advisor of the BHA, directed the effort.

I am very confident they will adapt quickly to this new set of measures”

In his comments on the new guidelines, BHA chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea stated that the racing has experience in operating bio-secure environments to maintain the health of horses. The trainers, jockeys, and staff members conduct themselves in a highly disciplined way because working with horses carries risks.

Dunshea said: “I am very confident they will adapt quickly to this new set of measures designed to protect them from transmission of the virus.”

Betting to Resume

As the horse racing industry prepares to start back up behind closed doors, sportsbooks are ready to begin offering services as well. GVC Holdings just announced that it is hoping to have some stores back in action by the time the Royal Ascot takes place.

The parent company of Coral and Ladbrokes says it is well-prepared to have some retail sportsbooks resume operations by June 15. The Royal Ascot, one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the UK, is set to take place on June 16. Prime Minister Boris Johnson just announced June 15 as the new reopening date for non-essential stores.

A spokesperson for GVC stated that the company is going to follow all public health body guidance as it reopens.

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