All horse racing events in Great Britain will be suspended until the end of April due to the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 16th, though the Grand National meeting was canceled, it was announced that racing would take place behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s meetings at Wetherby and Taunton went ahead without spectators.
The British Horseracing Authority said that the decision will be kept under constant review.
The chief executive of the BHA, Nick Rust, said that this is a national emergency that they have never seen before. He added that horse racing is a sport that proudly connects to rural communities and to the local businesses. However, their first duty is to protect public health, their customers, as well as racing industry participants and staff. Therefore, they have decided to suspend racing following the latest advice of the government.
Racing in Ireland still goes on behind closed doors with the Irish Grand National meeting being scheduled for 11-13 April and the Punchestown festival still being planned on 28 April.
However, the Kentucky Derby of America has been postponed from 2 May to 5 September. Since the Second World War, it will be the first time that the event does not take place on the first Saturday in May.
Known as the Run for the Roses, America’s Kentucky Derby is followed in the Triple Crown of US racing by the Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes, which are also to be postponed.
Racing had soldiered on and managed to get the showpiece Cheltenham Festival completed while other sports came to a halt.
But after the non-essential contact recommendations, the Grand National was canceled and it might be inevitable that this news would follow.
In terms of horse racing, concerns might be higher than elsewhere because it employs up to 100,000 from casual workers to stud farms to horse transporters on a race-day, on top of the more obvious trainers, jockeys, bookmakers, etc.