In line with An Taoiseach’s announcement yesterday regarding the deferred phasing of the Roadmap for Reopening of Society and Business, Horse Racing Ireland confirm that plans to allow owners return to the racetrack from Monday July 20 have been delayed.
With only key personnel allowed onto the racecourse during behind closed doors meetings, racehorse owners have not been permitted on track since the Covid-19 lockdown in March.
It had been hoped that under Phase 4 of the Roadmap, which allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people, that owners would be welcomed back to Irish racecourses but yesterday’s deferral will delay that move for three weeks.
In line with current Government guidelines, masks will continue to be mandatory for those working indoors at the racecourse, or when unable to socially distance at all times.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said:
“Since we resumed racing in Ireland on June 8 Horse Racing Ireland has kept tandem with the Government’s movement on the Roadmap for Reopening of Society and Business, and will continue to do so.
“The decision taken by the Cabinet yesterday to defer Phase 4 of the Roadmap, means we will also, regrettably, have to defer our ambition to welcome owners back to the racecourse from July 20. I understand how disappointing this will be for owners who remain our first priority to return to the racecourse once restrictions are eased.
“Plans were well advanced for this to happen from Monday next at Ballinrobe and Gowran Park, and a number of owners had already completed their online medical screening. However, until the number permitted at outdoor gatherings is increased by the Government to 500, only key personnel necessary to run a race meeting will be permitted on site.
“The level of compliance with the Covid-19 protocols since June 8 has been excellent and is appreciated by the Covid-19 teams in Horse Racing Ireland and the IHRB.
“It is these protocols that ensure that we are able to continue to race so 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.”