Put The Kettle On (Aidan Coleman) winning the Arkle Chase last month
© Photo Healy Racing
With the National Hunt campaign ending abruptly and the Flat season waiting to get going, trainers are left in a state of limbo as they come to terms with the reality of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cheltenham Festival was the final big meeting before the current crisis and Henry de Bromhead added to his ever growing reputation with two further winners on jump racings biggest stage.
However, the mood at his Knockeen yard now resembles many throughout the country as COVID-19 has ground racing to a halt.
“I’m disappointed that we have lost Punchestown for this year but it’s understandable why. There are much bigger problems going on in the world at the moment,” reflected de Bromhead.
The trainer of star mares Honeysuckle and Put The Kettle On added, “We are letting down the winter horses and they are starting to go home. They are being roughed off which will take a while.
“The horses we have for a summer campaign or better ground are doing different things. Most of them will back off for a few weeks and hopefully we will know more by the end of the month.
“We’ll have about 30 or 40 horses in for the summer. We’ve had to let some staff go and are trying as best we can. It’s tough for everyone and we’re certainly not alone. This is affecting every industry.”
Willie McCreery has consistently finished in the top ten of the Irish Flat trainers’ championship over the past seven years but must now bide his time and hope things get back to some sort of normality soon.
“We are riding out as normal but walking around the yard everyone is very conscious of keeping as far away from each other as we can. It’s very worrying times for everyone.”
McCreery added, “The Curragh gallops are ticking away as horses have to be exercised or they go crazy.
“I have 55 in training but ten have gone home so far and I don’t know what is going to happen to be honest. Nobody can dictate how long this is going to last, and that’s the nature of the beast at the minute.”