In line with An Taoiseach’s announcement last Friday regarding the phasing of the Roadmap for Reopening of Society and Business, the Board of Horse Racing Ireland has approved a number of amendments to the HRI Covid-19 Protocols, all of which are consistent with Government guidelines.
From Wednesday July 1 a number of amendments to the Resumption of Racing protocols will come into effect.
• The prohibition on attendance of those aged over 70 in the various attendee categories which are permitted under the Protocols – trainers, stewards, vets etc. – will be removed
• The current limit of no more than three journalists and three photographers will be increased to a maximum of five
• One representative of Associations whose attendees are permitted to be at race meetings will be allowed.
• Premier Handicaps in Ireland to be opened to international runners in addition to all Black Type races under both codes
• The current health screening and temperature checking arrangements will continue for all attendees
From Monday July 20, the following amendments have been approved:
• Two owners per horse will be permitted to attend for their race(s) only, subject to pre-health screening and temperature checks on arrival
• Racecourses will be allowed to nominate up to five attendees which could include sponsors, racecourse board/committee members, and social-distanced trophy presentation for feature race will be permitted
In line with current Government guidelines, masks will continue to be mandatory for those working indoors or when unable to socially distance at all times.
Saunas or showers will remain closed, with an expanded weigh room space continuing to be provided, and this will see a continuation of the current 2lb increase in weights across the board under both codes.
To facilitate the current health pre-screening system, 48-hour declarations will continue to operate.
Safety limits will remain at a general maximum of 18 per race, or less as required for safety/social distancing/stable capacity reasons, with the exception of key high value feature races. There will be a maximum of 20 for Premier Handicaps at the Curragh and normal limits retained for the feature handicaps at Galway, including 20 for Hurdle and 22 for Plate.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said:
“In tandem with the Government’s movement on the Roadmap for Reopening of Society and Business, we are announcing a number of amendments to Horse Racing Ireland’s Covid-19 protocols.
“Since we resumed racing in Ireland on June 8, the level of care and compliance with the Covid-19 protocols has been excellent and is appreciated by the Covid-19 teams in Horse Racing Ireland and the IHRB.
“While we’re announcing some easing of the restrictions today, it is very important that everybody continues to comply with the rules on the racecourse around social distancing and face masks, and the requirements around pre-health screening.
“We are delighted to be able to confirm today that owners will be permitted to return to the racecourse on July 20, with certain restrictions. Owners play a key role in Irish racing and their loyalty during this difficult period has been especially noteworthy, and from July 20 two owners per horse will be allowed to access the racecourse to see their horse run.
“We are working with racecourses around providing safe, achievable catering options for key personnel working at the racecourse and aim to have a consistent offering from July 20.”