Horse racing in Ireland is set to resume on June 29 

Horse racing in Ireland is set to resume on June 29 
Ask Heather and Simon Torrens jump the last to win the Boylesports Handicap Steeplechase back in March, before racing was suspended. Picture:  Healy Racing

HORSE RACING Ireland has a target date of June 29 to resume racing in Ireland, though the industry to still hoping to get government approval to begin again earlier in the summer.

The HRI have confirmed talks are ongoing with government officials with a view to racing behind closed doors. 

Up to March 24, even after other sport had been suspended, horse racing was taking place with no spectators and just key personnel at meets. It was the same with greyhound racing and their return will be along similar lines.

For now, racing is prohibited until the June 29 but the HRI will continue to liaise with the government in case the opportunity to commence is given before then. 

June 8 is when 'phase two' of the road map out of Covid-19 restrictions begins. Racing returns in Germany and France in the coming week and British racing is also preparing to resume.

The HRI statement explained: "In publishing the roadmap last week, the Government stated an appetite to engage and consult with sectors on possible changes to the timings in the plan, and Horse Racing Ireland has been fully engaged in that process this week. 

"In addition, the Taoiseach stated in the Dail earlier today that the Government would examine proposals from sectors of the economy wishing to have restrictions lifted earlier than scheduled in the Government’s roadmap, and HRI is availing of this offer."

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland said: “Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish racing community are fully supportive of the Government and the Chief Medical Officer for the way in which they have handled this unprecedented public health emergency.

“Through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine there has been constructive engagement with various Government departments this week on the basis that racing will only resume behind closed doors when it is deemed safe and appropriate.

“Prior to March 24, race fixtures were among the last group of Tier 2 commercial activities to continue with ten fixtures staged safely behind closed doors with only key personnel permitted on site. 

"Horse Racing Ireland’s Covid-19 protocols which were in place for those fixtures have been further strengthened in the meantime and we feel that the industry can safely resume sooner rather than later and will continue to engage with Government on that basis.”

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