British horseracing confirms decision to race behind closed doors

Racing industry leaders have confirmed a plan to continue racing behind closed doors from tomorrow. Any fixtures that take place in England, Wales and Scotland, initially until the end of March, will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees.

The race meetings at Taunton and Wetherby on Tuesday will be the first in England to take place behind closed doors, following the approach taken at Kelso this afternoon. Customers are being asked to contact the individual racecourses for further details.

The intention is for scheduled race meetings to take place wherever possible. However, the situation is very fluid at present and decisions may have to be made to cancel meetings. Every effort will be made to notify customers and the betting industry at the earliest opportunity.

With race meetings due to happen every day, the aim is to agree a programme that is sustainable, in the light of possible staff absences, including in critical roles, in order to protect industry staff and support the wider effort to free up critical public services.

The plan was agreed today by the sport’s tripartite leadership, including the Racecourse Association, The Horsemen’s Group and the governing body, the British Horseracing Authority

The BHA is notifying the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the plan agreed today. Racing has continued to observe the government’s request for a proportionate response that takes into account public health and the impact on jobs and businesses.

The Chief Executive of the BHA, Nick Rust, said:

“Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities and we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.

“The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services. We also have a range of measures in place designed in response to the government’s guidance on public health and we will continue to update these as appropriate.

“We acknowledge that today’s decision will also impact on local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, who are struggling at this time. We are following the government’s advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity and will continue to do so. We thank our customers and staff for their support.”

Racing participants will be given further information later today and are asked to check the Racing Administration system where updates will be provided. The media will be notified of the arrangements for their attendance.