Racing has coronavirus steering group in place

Tue 25th Feb 2020, 18:46

© Photo Healy Racing
The British Horseracing Authority is prepared to act — if the need arises — regarding any potential coronavirus impact on fixtures.

The PA News agency understands an industry steering group has been established, consisting of the BHA, Racecourse Association and horsemen, to consider the implications of the virus.

The Cheltenham Festival, which begins on March 10, and Aintree Grand National meeting are among the high-profile events in the calendar this spring.

At a recent meeting of the steering group, however, it was decided that as of yet there is no need for contingency plans regarding potential re-scheduling or abandonments of any fixtures or other specific race-day measures.

The sport will nonetheless continue to liaise with the Government as necessary.

While some international sporting events have been postponed, principally in Asia, the virus is becoming more prevalent in Europe — with Italy especially taking extra precautions and six Serie A football matches taking place behind closed doors.

At present, the 2020 Olympics — due to be held in Tokyo in July and August — remain scheduled to go ahead as planned.

A Jockey Club spokesman for Cheltenham issued a statement on Tuesday evening, which read: “It remains full speed ahead for The Festivalâ„¢ presented by Magners in a fortnight’s time.

“Racing continues to liaise closely with the Government to stay on top of the situation, and we are looking forward to four fantastic days of racing at Cheltenham.”