Horse Racing Ireland implement new protocols to continue in operation during the Covid-19 pandemic

Kildare Now Reporter

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Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) will continue in operation under additional strict protocols. 

This decision is motivated by the need to maintain employment and incomes for people working in the industry, and on the basis of being able to achieve and maintain all HSE advice and instructions.

Since last Friday, five race meetings in Ireland have been held behind closed doors with access to the racecourse limited to a number of key personnel such as stable staff, jockeys and trainers, and strict protocols around social distancing and sanitisation.

These meetings were subsequently reviewed by the HRI board and more measures have been implemented in response. These new measures include:

  • There will be no evening meetings and no double meetings - this will reduce  the draw on medical resources, a principal concern for larger racing jurisdictions with multiple meetings every day.
  • A maximum of one meeting per day to reduce impact on resources.#
  • Jockeys’ weights to increase by 2lb from Friday, on the Flat and in National Hunt - all racecourse saunas are closed.
  • No owners permitted to attend race meetings.
  • No overseas runners will be permitted for the time being in Irish races.
  • A maximum of 30-minute intervals between races to assist social distancing.
     

Nicky Hartery, Chairman of Horse Racing Ireland outlined that  “these are unprecedented and sombre times and we are seeking the best ways to support the racing community and industry throughout what lies ahead. Health and welfare of employees and industry participants is the prime consideration and within that context, we have introduced protocols which can allow racing to continue and thousands of families who rely on the sector to maintain a livelihood. This will be kept under review on a daily basis and we are also planning measures for reprogramming fixtures  as it becomes required.   Changes to the programme will be separately announced."

All previously outlined measures are still in place as HRI will continue to comply with the government issued directives surrounding social distancing and HSE health and welfare guidelines.