Horse racing in Great Britain postponed until the end of April due to the coronavirus outbreak

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.

Cheltenham Festival 2020 stepping up hygiene measures to combat coronavirus threat

Cheltenham has revealed a list of measures to combat the threat of new coronavirus at the four-day festival of next week.

The track has increased the amount of wash basins and toilet facilities on site and plans to form hand sanitizers readily available, also as putting up posters with the newest public health advice.

In addition to posters round the racecourse, an identical public health message will leave to all or any customers beforehand of the meeting.

A spokesperson for the racecourse said that they support the guidance of the government that all the business in the country should continue as usual and they adhere to the newest public health advice. He added that they have also increased staff numbers in order to make sure the facilities such as soap and drying facilities are always available.

Following the announcement of the new cases, Betfair’s exchange market on whether day one among the festival will plow ahead as planned was offering odds of 1.4 (2-5) for racing to travel ahead and three .5 (5-2) for it to be cancelled or postponed at 6pm with almost £2.2 million matched.

On Tuesday, the government also unveiled its coronavirus action plan, containing four phases: contain, delay, research, and mitigate. The government is within the contain phase, with the main target on detecting early cases and preventing an epidemic.

The delay phase starts as the virus starts spreading and might include restrictions on public gathering activitiesa such as sporting events for 12 weeks.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there have been no immediate plans to launch such measures, heightening confidence that the Cheltenham Festival, which was planned to take place next Tuesday, will plow ahead as scheduled.

A market on whether Aintree’s Grand National festival will plow ahead from April 2 was added to the Betfair exchange, with odds of 1.75 (3-4) that the meeting won’t plow ahead and a couple of .25 (5-4) that it’ll , with over £800 matched at 6pm on Wednesday.