Horseracing in Scotland Getting Ready to Return
Following the Scottish Government’s publication of the route map for moving out of lockdown, Scottish Racing is making plans for a resumption of racing to be carried out behind closed doors.
Discussions are taking place between Scottish Racing and the Scottish Government to support these provisional fixtures, during Phase 2 of public health restrictions. Subject to a range of factors – particularly public health and the approval of the Scottish Government – our aim is to commence on Monday 22 June 2020.
The sport’s regulator, the British Horseracing Authority (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.
With only 3.7% of all British horses in training being resident in Scotland, the five Scottish racecourses rely heavily on being able to welcome horses to race from all areas of Britain, and the protocols include detailed information for the safe movement of all horses, jockeys, racing staff and their relevant equipment.
The documents are applicable for everyone attending race meetings, and their employers, who will all need to be aware of and comply with the new and revised procedures and protocols in place. A six point plan details who is permitted to attend the racecourse during these early stages of resumption; an overview of the compulsory pre-raceday health screening requirement; information about the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings; and changes to racecourse protocols and procedures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.
By resuming racing, albeit behind closed doors, Scottish Racing recognises the wide range of benefits this can bring during these early stages of restrictions being lifted. It will enable a number of the industry’s staff to be able to return to work, protect their livelihoods, and allow thousands of equine athletes to race as they have been bred and trained to do. In turn, this will reduce the burden on the taxpayer by allowing staff across racing in Scotland and the north of England to be un-furloughed and generate significant revenues to pay for public services.
A significant number of races in Scotland showcase a world-leading racing and breeding industry and keep international investment flowing into Scotland, creating jobs and prosperity, and by bringing live sport back to people’s TV screens can lift people’s spirits and make lockdown restrictions easier to bear.
Scottish Racing’s Manager, Delly Innes, said: “The public can have confidence in our ability to race behind closed doors as safely as possible when the government allows more industries back to work. As a highly regulated industry we have considerable experience of keeping any potential health and safety risks to an absolute minimum. We are working with Public Health officials to protect those coming back to work, the local communities in which race meetings take place and the wider public, against the risk of transmission of Covid-19. We are fully prepared to stage race meetings in a strictly controlled environment which fully comply with all the requirements of governmental and racing industry bodies, once they decide the time is right to resume racing.”
With the health of our participants and the general public a priority, Scottish Racing and industry leaders will strictly follow Government guidelines when the easing of restrictions during Phases 3 and 4 of the Scottish Government’s route map are announced.
The provisional fixtures for racing behind closed doors in Scotland, subject to approval from the Scottish Government, are shown below:
Scottish racing generates economic activity of £306 million annually in Scotland and supports 3,400 FTE job roles across the country.
Racing is a non-contact sport taking place outdoors and has already returned or continued safely behind closed doors in Germany, Australia and the United States.
The BHA’s protocols for racing behind closed doors can be found here: http://media.britishhorseracing.com/bha/covid19/BCD_Protocols.pdf
Scottish Racing promotes and supports the sport of horseracing throughout Scotland and its five racecourses: Ayr, Hamilton Park, Kelso, Musselburgh, Perth.
For further information, please contact Delly Innes on email@example.com, or telephone 01835 840315 / 07970 229507.