Racing in the UK will come to a halt until the end of April at the earliest with the BHA taking the drastic measure as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus that has taken over the world.
On Tuesday the governing body came to the decision to end the idea of racing in Britain behind closed doors and to officially stand down racing all together with the industry’s Covid-19 steering group believing this is the correct decision for the sport.
Following the Prime Minister's declaration to the British public on Monday of social distancing measures by the UK government, including advice to avoid all non-essential travel and social gatherings in an attempt to try and stop or slow down the spread of the virus, Racing's higher ups have now chosen to cancel the sport for the foreseeable future.
(Credit Racing Post) Nick Rust, BHA chief executive, said in a statement: “This is a national emergency the like of which most of us have never seen before. We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry. But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government’s latest advice.
“Racing is a family and I know we will pull together over the coming days, weeks and months and support each other. By stopping racing, we can free up medical resources, doctors and ambulances, be they private sector or NHS, to assist in the national effort to fight this virus. And we can support racing industry participants and staff as they face up to the personal challenges ahead and care for their own families.
“There will be difficult months ahead for many of us. We need to focus now on ensuring that we can continue to look after our horses as the virus affects the thousands of participants and staff who dedicate their lives to caring for animals. We need to do what we can to support businesses inside and outside racing and the many people whose livelihoods depend upon this £4 billion industry.”
The governing body have been in constant discussion on the idea and following in the footsteps of many other sporting organisations that have also cancelled different sports in the UK, the BHA have took the same advice.
Rust added: “We are in constant contact with government which understands the very significant consequences of this decision for jobs and businesses. We will work with them to do our best to manage the impact.
“Racing leaders will keep today’s decision under constant review and endeavour to keep all customers, participants, staff and dependent businesses informed as the situation progresses.”