Racing looks for swift return

Racing’s leaders have “committed to plan for resumption” of the sport on June 1, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

Hopes of a restart this month were dealt a blow following news from the Government that there would be no professional sport, even behind closed doors, in England until at least that date.

The Government’s road map for exiting the lockdown, imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus, was published on Monday afternoon, setting out the conditions under which various activities can be safely carried out.

Step two of the road map, which cannot begin any earlier than June 1, includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact”.

This will only be possible though if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus between now and then, but the document entitled ‘Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy’ says that “organisations should plan accordingly”.

It is less clear when spectators will be able to return to venues.

The document talks about venues such as cinemas and hairdressers reopening in step three – no earlier than July 4 – but states: “Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to reopen safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part.”

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Racing has not taken place in Britain since the meetings at Wetherby and Taunton on March 17, which were both held behind closed doors. Fixtures were initially suspended until the end of April, before that was extended to an unspecified date.

Under a “best-case scenario”, two high-profile weekends had been pencilled in for the end of May, with the 1000 and 2000 Guineas on the first weekend in June.

Source : Sky Sports