Plans to get owners back on track from 29 March

Press Release from the BHA

Planning is underway to welcome back owners to racecourses in England and Scotland from Monday 29 March, in line with government roadmaps for easing lockdown restrictions.

Racecourse attendance has been restricted since early January, following the announcement of a national lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. During this period, owners have continued to support their horses in training, despite not being able to see them in yards or on course.

British racing is enormously grateful to owners for their patience, understanding and unwavering support. Your return to the racecourse will mark a significant step in the move to normality – and will be welcomed by the entire industry.

Under current plans, owners – as key investors in British racing – will be able to attend race meetings in England and Scotland from Monday, as part of a phased, risk-managed approach, which corresponds as closely as possible to the respective government timetables.

Like other elite sport, racing continues to operate behind closed doors, with strict infection control measures in place to reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted on course. Therefore, owners will be asked to follow the BHA’s COVID-19 requirements and the specific Owner Protocols.

Unless agreed otherwise with local authorities, from 29 March to 12 April, access to the racecourse will be limited to a maximum of two owners per horse, as was the case initially when owners returned in July 2020. Racecourses are not able to provide hospitality at this stage, due to government restrictions, but light refreshments will be available and there will be no time limit on how long owners are able to remain on course.

We aim to increase access to a maximum of six owners per horse from 12 April, following the further easing in government restrictions. At this point, racecourses will also be permitted to re-introduce outdoor hospitality.

Specific arrangements remain subject not only to government guidance, but also local authority decision-making, and therefore conditions may vary according to racecourse area. Racecourse officials are currently liaising with their local authorities and will contact owners directly ahead of each fixture with further details of any local requirements.

As ever, pre-registration is essential, and owners will be emailed automatically with details of how to register once their horse is entered to run. Please also see the Racecourse Association’s guide for owners, which outlines important information on returning to the racecourse.

Racecourses in Wales are awaiting guidance on the return of owners, so owners should check with the racecourse in question as to the current arrangements.

We would also like to thank those owners who have attended behind closed doors fixtures and co-operated fully with the infection control measures in place. These are designed to keep everyone safe and protect racing from the risk of COVID-related disruption.

Thank you again for your support – and we look forward to seeing you back on the racecourse.