Could the Cheltenham festival be cancelled due to the Coronavirus?


The Cheltenham festival is the pinnacle of every jumps racing fans year and the thought of it not going ahead is the end of the world of some people and unfortunately this year it could become a reality.

With the potential of the virus scuppering the four day meeting a special group has been made to ensure the sport is highly prepared and at the peak of readiness with the Cheltenham Festival less than a fortnight away. 

The group over the next week will finalise a plan with a steering group comprised of representatives from the BHA, Racecourse Association and horsemen will consider what will happen if the outbreak reaches a severe mark.

The virus has been one of the most topical discussions in world news over the last month with China being severely hit whilst 11 other people have died across other countries like Italy, Iran and South Korea with the threat to Europe becoming more and more of a problem.

Coronavirus has already seen major sporting occasions been postponed in the countries that have been badly hit like the Scotland women's Six Nations match in Italy last Sunday was cancelled and five Serie A games are set to be played behind closed doors this weekend. 

If an outbreak did hit the UK in the name of public safety the festival could be postponed or even cancelled depending on how bad the spread is which would mean catastrophic repercussions for the racing industry.

(Credit Racing Post) Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood said she would do the same things that Italy have done stating: "If we do have a cluster, as has happened in Italy, then we move into delaying the spread.

"Delaying the spread would mean some of the measures that have happened already in Italy – stopping people coming together in large groups so that one or a few individuals do not spread to many, many more around them."

The virus originated in China and causes respiratory disease covid-19 which has led to more than 2,000 deaths in Asian country and with that there have been cases of coronavirus confirmed in close to 30 other countries with more than 20 deaths currently.

Currently in a world where you are able to bet on nearly anything the betfair exchange has the likelihood of the festival being cancelled at 3.00 with a slightly positive verdict on it going ahead being 1.33 on the exchange.