Welsh courses and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have announced the resumption of racing behind closed doors in Wales. The first fixture is scheduled for Monday 15th June at Chepstow racecourse.
Initially, racing at Welsh courses will just be recommencing at Chepstow with no spectators able to attend. Bangor-on-Dee will resume as part of the summer Jumps season which begins in July, and Ffos Las will reopen in October.
As the sport’s regulator, the BHA has released protocols for racing behind closed doors, which includes specific guidance for the racing industry to help safeguard the health of employees and participants in a controlled and managed return to racing.
The procedures apply to everyone attending race meetings, and their employers, who will need to comply with the new and revised procedures and protocols in place.
The guidelines detail who is permitted to attend the racecourse during these early stages of resumption. All are subject to a three-stage screening process, including an online education test, a health questionnaire and temperature checks on arrival. Social distancing officers on racecourses will ensure compliance with Welsh government regulations around social distancing.
Chief Executive of the BHA, Nick Rust said: “I’m delighted to see the return of racing in Wales at Chepstow next month as ensuring that racing gets back up and running in all three nations of Britain has been a priority of the BHA in recent weeks as we look to maintain our nationwide footprint, and provide opportunities for trainers based in devolved administrations.
“The focus of our plans is on returning safely and I believe the public can be reassured by the measures we have put in place. Our participants have made sure they understand all that will be asked of them when they attend a meeting. Their priority, like ours, is to ensure continued observance of social distancing rules and prevent the virus spreading.
“I hope this is a vital first step towards a complete return for our industry in Wales, and we look forward to returning to race at Ffos Las, and Bangor-on-Dee later in 2020.”
Executive Director at Chepstow and Ffos Las Racecourses, Phil Bell, said: “We are delighted to welcome the return of racing in Wales. There will be a lot of work to do for everyone to adapt the way we run race meetings and meet the stringent safety requirements that have been set out by BHA, but we are very much looking forward to meeting the challenge and getting back to work.”
Welsh Racehorse Trainer, David Evans, said: “I am very pleased to see the return of racing at my local track, Chepstow Racecourse, and will be keen to support the behind closed doors meetings held there in the coming months.
“Ahead of racing’s return, I am impressing upon my staff the importance of familiarising themselves with both the Welsh government guidelines, and the protocols for behind closed doors racing produced by the BHA, and I call on fellow members of the training community to do the same in order to ensure we return as safely as possible.”