The BHA (British Horseracing Authority) have released a resumption update for the return of owners to racecourses.
Return of owners to the racecourse
The return of owners to the racecourse will be a phased process, with interim safety and infection control measures in place to minimise risk for owners, prioritise the wellbeing of all attendees, and ensure that the sport is aligned with government guidance relating to attendance at elite sports venues.
Two test fixtures will be held on Wednesday 1 July at Southwell and Kempton Park to pilot the protocols and allow for a thorough review of the processes in place to facilitate a smooth implementation. This will enable owners to experience racing behind closed doors and provide useful feedback ahead of the wider planned rollout from Saturday 4 July. Owners will be notified directly via email about how to register for the test events, once their horse is declared to run.
The protocols only apply to racecourses in England at this stage, but British racing continues to engage with the Scottish and Welsh Governments on the return of owners to the racecourse for behind closed doors fixtures.
The RCA is also working directly with all racecourses to support their preparations and ensure they are ready to welcome owners back at the earliest opportunity. Not all racecourses will be able to accommodate owners immediately, they remain subject to local authority clearance and operational restrictions. If a racecourse is unable to accommodate owners, owners will be notified in advance.
Under current plans, owners will be able to attend all fixtures scheduled for Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July. More information about attendance at fixtures being held from Monday 6 July will be published later this week.
Guidance for owners
To support owners in adjusting to these new operating procedures, and to clarify why they are necessary, a guidance document has been produced, which details the essential protocols that must be followed by all owners attending race meetings behind closed doors. The document is available here.
The following measures will apply to all race meetings able to facilitate the return of owners until further notice:
These protocols, and others contained within the guidance for owners, have been developed in line with British racing’s protocols for behind closed doors racing. They are approved by the UK Government and underpinned by specific government guidance around the return of elite domestic sporting competition behind closed doors, which sets the minimum standards that sport is required to meet to resume competition.
The BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, said: “As with our wider approach to resumption, the return of owners is predicated on a phased, risk-managed plan, which establishes infection control protocols that are essential for the safe continuation of racing during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
“These include pre-entry screening for owners and segregated areas to facilitate social distancing at no closer than two metres – measures that prioritise the safety of our attendees, are consistent with government guidance for elite sports fixtures behind closed doors, and are supported by the UK Government.”
RCA Chief Executive, David Armstrong, said: "We are delighted to be able to welcome back owners to the racecourse, albeit in limited numbers for now. Owners are critical to our sport and their patience and support during lockdown has been vital. The special measures that are set out in the new protocols should enable owners to enjoy the racing experience again but to do so in a safe and responsible fashion."
ROA Chief Executive, Charlie Liverton, said: “It’s great to have owners back on the course and I’d like to thank the BHA, the racecourses and the team at the ROA for their hard work since the resumption of racing to put in place protocols for owners to attend.
“Owners contribute so much to this sport and it has been frustrating not to be on the track to see their horses run. Their patience and loyalty has been very much appreciated during this challenging period. There is still more work to do and we will continue to work with owners and racing’s stakeholders to get our sport back up and running in full with people across the UK able to enjoy a day’s racing on course when it is safe and appropriate to do so.”
The full protocols for owners returning to racing behind closed doors can be downloaded here.
We are absolutely thrilled to win the Lycetts team Champion Award for yard with over 40 horses.
This is an incredible achievement for our team and it's great that they are being recognised in this way for all of their hard work, 365 days a year.
Thank you to all of our wonderful owners and sponsor, Wasdell, for all of their support.
We're all very proud of the team!
Did you catch Jonjo on Countryfile last night?
He was on to discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic is effecting the horse racing industry.
If you missed it, you can catch the episode on the BBC iPlayer by clicking HERE.
Jonjo is about 30 minutes into the show.
We are delighted to announce that we have made it into the final shortlist for this year's Lycetts Team Champion Award.
We are in the final four in the yards with over 40 horses category.
I'm very proud of all of the team who have put in lots of incredible work to achieve this. It would be amazing to go on and win!
The BHA has announced that racing will cease with immediate effect. Jonjo will assess how to approach this period of inactivity and communicate individually with all our owners.
Jonjo, Jacqui and Team Jackdaws wish all owners and supporters the best of health at this time.
Lunar Baby brought up our 61st winner of the season at Warwick this afternoon in the hands of Jonjo Jr.
We are absolutely thrilled for owner and breeder Anne Bond!
Tegerek and Jonjo Jr. brought up his first win and our 60th winner of the season at Huntingdon.
We are delighted for our incredibly supportive owners Richard and Donna Evans.
Jonjo O'Neill Jr. produced a cracking ride on Flight Deck who stayed on well in the finish to win at Newbury today.
It was good to see him back after 404 days off the track.
Congratulations to all connections!
We enjoyed an across the card double today with Ashfield Paddy and Hang Tough winning at Exeter and Warwick respectively.
Ashfield Paddy jumped his hurdles well to win in the hands of Jonjo O'Neill Jr. for owner The Honourable Elizabeth Wills.
At Warwick, it was great to see Hang Tough cross the line in front at the sixth time of asking for The Tough Troop Partnership under a great ride by Bryan Carver.
Huge congratulations to all connections and well done to the team.
Bean In Trouble brought up our 56th winner of season with a good performance to win the Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
Huge congratulations to owners Oisin Fanning, Heather Haddock and Neal Griffith.
Darsi In The Park was a big priced winner at Uttoxeter this afternoon, impressively winning the Maiden Hurdle by 7 lengths in the hands of Nick Scholfield.
This victory brought up our 55th winner of the season and our 4th winner in 4 days.
Huge congratulations to owner Gay Smith!
Annie Mc made it 3 out of 3 over fences with a impressive jumping display at Bangor in the hands of Jonjo O'Neill Jr. who brought up his 50th winner of the season.
Huge congratulations to Chris Hughes and all the Coral Champions Club!
The Composeur brought up our third winner in February with a 6 length victory at Huntingdon this afternoon in the hands of Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
Huge congratulations to owners Jean Notman, John Walker.
It was great to see Garry Clermont back to winning ways at Ludlow this afternoon in the hands of Richie McLernon.
Known by Slinky Knickers by his owners Mary Miller and Kate Walsh, this is his third success in 5 races and brings up our 52nd winner of the season.
Minella Rocco won his second Hunters' Chase in 10 days with a convincing win at Wetherby under a brilliant ride by Derek O'Connor.
This brought up our 51st winner of the season.
Congratulations to all connections.