Racing in Britain set to take place behind closed doors

Move will take British racing into line with the sport in Ireland and other jurisdictions

British racing is set to move behind closed doors later in the week.

A statement from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Sunday evening said representatives of racecourses, stakeholders and the BHA will meet on Monday to discuss an approach recommended by the industry's Covid-19 group.

“It is likely to mean that racing moves behind closed doors later in the week, initially until the end of March. Racing’s fixture list will also be considered,” it said.

Such a move will take British racing into line with Ireland and other major racing jurisdictions in ensuring that meetings are held without spectators.


“With race meetings due to happen every day, the intention is to agree a programme that is sustainable in the light of possible staff absences, including in critical roles, which protects industry staff and supports the wider effort to free up critical public services,” added the BHA.

Arrangements to run Monday’s meeting at Kelso behind closed doors have already been made following guidance from the Scottish government.

The BHA says it has been closely following official guidance on public health. Details of its contingency plans have been shared with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Britain.

Chief executive Nick Rust said: "Racing has worked hard to look after our customers and our staff by following the government's guidance and taking proportionate action.

“We will agree plans to limit attendance to participants and staff only at race meetings from this week and put in place the contingency plans developed by the industry.”

The BHA also said the government has also been briefed on the issues involved in staging the Aintree Grand National and added that a decision will be announced as soon as possible.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column