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"... with full testing and safety precautions ..."



I have been placing little to no attention to the racing world during these times, and was wondering what exactly the above conditions that have been put in place to allow racing to resume at the end of this month were?

Ron (in yesterday evening's email) mentions "with full testing and safety precautions in place" - would someone mind just highlighting in as few words as possible what these conditions are?

How do jockeys maintain "social distancing"?  Will jockeys be wearing masks? Is that a silly question?

Had a look on RP website and can't see much except how excited ITV are ... did notice that Dortmund have cancelled their expected resumption though. Angela Merkel mentioned the other day that their R number had increased again after they relented on a few of the lockdown measures.

As I said if anyone has any idea what's in place provisionally I'd appreciate your input.

Thank you very much,

Keep safe.

Morning, Charles

I would expect everyone visiting a racecourse to be tested for the virus and proven negative.

Ambulances and medical staff on the racecourse, to the minimum level required. The required number of vets.

I don't think the idea of jockeys wearing masks is silly, to be honest but, if they have been tested negative, why bother?

This is the full report produced by the Resumption of Racing Group:

Update from the Resumption of Racing Group

Resumption planning

This week, racecourses have been invited to submit expressions of interest to stage fixtures under plans for the resumption of racing. This process will support the development of a provisional race programme.

As explained in previous updates, the plan for resumption is based on a phased approach that supports the transition of racing back to a normal fixture list, in a controlled and measured way. Different scenarios – or ‘phases’ – have been developed, which can be implemented and adapted as circumstances require, in accordance with public health guidelines.

It’s possible that not all phases will be required, but at this stage all scenarios are being considered so that we are prepared to race under whatever circumstances exist at the time that racing is able restart.

In the early stages of this model, racing would resume behind closed doors under strict conditions, at locations that meet specific criteria around risk mitigation and infection control. This may include full quarantine conditions at secured sites if absolutely necessary, or behind closed doors racing, with sites limited to those that are able to meet strict hygiene conditions, social distancing measures and appropriate medical provision.

Under the strictest infection control scenarios, attendance at the site(s) would be limited to staff essential to delivering the race fixture. These restrictions on personnel will be continually reviewed and gradually eased to accommodate connections, including owners and trainers, in line with Government guidance.

All locations will need to adhere to stringent medical and risk mitigation protocols, to the satisfaction of the BHA Chief Medical Adviser, to minimise the risk of injury and incident and reduce any unnecessary pressures on local NHS provision.

Equally, they will also need to follow strict biosecurity protocols to manage risks associated with horse transportation in and out of the site. These protocols are being developed through the Resumption of Racing Group and in collaboration with industry experts and other major sports.

The BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, is part of a working group of medical advisers from major sports that is meeting with the UK Culture Secretary and Public Health England officials, to discuss the principles around the safe resumption of sport.

The Resumption of Racing Group is also engaging with counterparts in other racing jurisdictions on plans for resumption in different countries. Earlier this week, Brant Dunshea joined a call with representatives from France, Ireland and Germany, where it was noted that some European nations have resumed racing behind closed doors this week, including Norway. Germany will resume from next week and work continues in France and Ireland toward resumption planning.

Our French colleagues are working on a resumption behind closed doors from 11 May. It will be a step by step process as racing resumes in France with no foreign runners permitted until 1 June. However, subject to multiple factors including an easing of government travel restrictions, France Galop hopes to be welcoming foreign runners from that date, when they plan to run the French Guineas.

Germany has also confirmed that foreign runners will not be permitted until at least 22 May (inclusive).

Fixture list and race planning

To help trainers plan, during the next week we will be developing a provisional programme for the first seven days of racing following resumption – whatever the resumption date. We will then subsequently publish the rest of the provisional programme up until the end of June. This will be as close as possible to the original programme for the period, which means we will be looking to stage roughly the same number of races by type, class and distance.

Ahead of this, we will issue a fixture cancellation notice for all fixtures that were originally scheduled to take place during May and June. This simply reflects the fact that we will be publishing a new provisional programme and does not seek to pre-empt or pre-judge any Government decisions around lockdown or resumption.

As explained in last week’s update, the initial resumption of racing will be a staged and measured process, with only a small number of fixtures initially, subject to advice from public health authorities. This will be kept under continual review, with further fixtures added in a phased and controlled manner as circumstances permit.

We will also look to confirm prize money values as soon as possible. In normal circumstances, racecourses provide approximately half of prize money, but with betting shops, which drive media rights income, closed and no crowds, their contributions will be significantly impacted. Every effort will be made to keep prize money as high as possible, but reductions below recent levels are inevitable.

Other relevant points to assist in making plans at this stage include:
In the early stages of racing resuming, we plan to restrict races to the most experienced riders, which includes jockeys who claim a maximum of 3lbs. This aims to support risk management and infection control by minimising the number of people in confined areas. The decision will be reviewed continually as resumption progresses.
We also intend to limit field sizes to 12 runners, at least initially. In response to queries that we have received, there are no plans to restrict the number of runners that any owner or trainer can have in a single race.
We have said previously that we would like to help more horses become eligible for a handicap rating after two runs. This will be achieved by making horses eligible for a rating if they have finished in the first six places on both of their first two starts.
Non-standard handicap bands will be utilised in the programme, with at lower levels, races programmed with 2lbs between the tops of the bands. For example, races staged for horses rated up to 66, 68, 70 etc. Over longer trips where there is less competition for places, there will be between 3lbs and 5lbs between the tops of the bands.
Under our best-case scenario planning, the programme of nurseries will commence slightly later than normal, at the beginning of August.
Finally, we continue to plan towards a resumption of Jump racing at the beginning of July. Please note that following the suspension of racing, we will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until 30 November.

As ever, the approach outlined above is based on our best-case scenario planning and would need to be adjusted accordingly depending on when and how racing is able to recommence.

2020 Flat Pattern Programme

As outlined last week, under our best-case scenario planning, the aim is to save a number of Pattern and Listed events from early spring by rescheduling them, ideally in the second half of May. We will share this list of races at the earliest possible opportunity, together with those races that have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. As noted previously, a later restart would require these plans to be adjusted accordingly.

Overall, the key principles for the black type programme for 2020 are that the Classics are the priority, and that the flagship older-horse races will need to be slotted in around them.

Government relations

Earlier this week, the BHA’s Chair, Annamarie Phelps, and Chief Executive, Nick Rust, met the UK Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, to discuss racing’s plans for resumption and the wider economic impact of covid-19 on the industry. The Minister is aware of and supports the work being undertaken for resumption at the earliest safe opportunity.

The discussion outlined that any restart would be subject to advice of public health authorities and could not apply undue pressure on medical services and available testing. It also considered how continued exercise of racehorses during the lockdown could reduce the time for competition to resume.

The Minister also addressed the resumption of racing in the House of Commons on Monday in response to a Parliamentary Question from Newbury and Lambourn MP, Laura Farris. In his answer, the Minister explained that while it’s not possible at this stage to set a timescale for the lifting of current restrictions, potential conditions in which sport might return include behind closed doors, with limited staff and with consideration of first responder capacity and regular testing – all of which are incorporated into the plan for resumption of racing.

Next week, the Scottish racecourses will be joining representatives from other major sports bodies at a meeting with the Scottish Sports Minister. This will provide an opportunity to discuss the resumption of sport in Scotland, where the approach to exiting lockdown and easing restrictions may differ from other UK countries.

Finally, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies, has submitted a question to the Welsh Government on the business support being made available to the thoroughbred sector in Wales, to ensure this is equivalent to the support available to counterparts across the UK.


The Resumption of Racing Group is comprised of representatives from the BHA, the Horsemen’s Group, the Racecourse Association and the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB).

The Group is working to ensure that racing is prepared and in a position to restart at the earliest possible opportunity.

We hope that this information is useful and provides reassurance that racing will be ready to resume as soon as conditions allow.
The Resumption of Racing group will continue to send regular updates to keep you informed about progress. We are also developing an FAQs document , which will be published on the BHA website and shared in future resumption updates.

Thank you very much Ron for that information, I expected yourself to have the necessary details.

Hopefully things will be back to "normal" as soon as possible - but trying times to continue for some time, for everyone.

Noticed Leo Varadkar mentioned that outdoor sports wouldn't be phased back in until June - which hasn't pleased Irish trainers, and they are now looking for specific details re horseracing.

Regarding your point that maybe masks not being needed if jockeys showed up negative. Current medical advice is that the tests aren't conclusive until a person has a specific level of the virus in their bloodstream - so it's possible that they could have Covid and still show negative.  Maybe better safe than sorry until tests can be more conclusive, or have a series (2 or 3) of tests beforehand?

Thanks again,

Keep safe.


My own feelings on this are that if we wait for everyone to have been infected, we will never restart life again. If the medical advice regarding a test not being conclusive until a person has a specific level of the virus in their bloodstream, is to be the defining value at which we can get the world up and running again, then we'll be forever behind our front doors.

There are going to be more people infected and (again my own feeling on this), this will most likely be another virus, like influenza, that we have to learn to live with. No cures, just an annual injection for certain age groups, to minimise the risk for those getting it.

The news today regarding a restart are even more positive:

"Racing in Britain is working towards a resumption on May 15 following positive meetings with government officials over the last seven days.

The BHA and other key racing organisations have been eager not to pre-empt any announcement from government by setting a public target for the sport’s return, and plans remain fluid as to when and how to kickstart the industry depending on what is laid out by ministers on Thursday when lockdown measures are reviewed.

Those planning for the resumption of the sport are confident that action can take place within a week of any clearance being given, with May 15 emerging as a likely starting point if this week’s government update provides the go-ahead for a behind-closed-doors return to action.

Stakeholders have been encouraged by the positive response from government during meetings last week and are preparing to draw up a programme for racing’s return over the next few days, with all-weather venues Lingfield and Newcastle understood to be the frontrunners for hosting the first fixtures in Britain since March 17."

Morning Ron,

I would certainly hope that we are not waiting for everyone to become affected.

My comments re tests not being conclusive were purely that that is the information we receive from the Scottish government/medicine/science. I have no idea if the UK government proffer this advice as I don't watch those particular briefings.

Re your flu analogy - this is also part of the information we receive; once we eventually have a better understanding of the virus (apparently improving every day) then treatments and vaccines can be created to counteract it.  It will be with us as is the flu currently.

The world has to eventually return to some level of normality - just lets not deal with this as the US is doing right now - apparently Atlanta has lifted the lockdown completely - God help them.

Looking at the light at the end of the tunnel - it's getting brighter.

Keep safe.



Morning, Charles

It really is interesting watching how some societies are dealing with this. Some are most definitely intent on putting economy before health and some have a fear more of what they'll lose by way of "possessions", than their lives.

The headline in today's Racing Post has people more concerned about livelihoods than health. I have been saying, privately, that decisions will eventually have to be made, that are more to do with protecting the economy...because we have to have something to return to.

Onwards and upwards, Charles!


Morning Ron,

I hadn't planned in taking our conversation any further - thinking that "Onwards and Upwards" would be a good finishing point.  But this situation pains me and your thoughts re "decisions will eventually have to be made" pains me too. Not that I disagree with you. I don't.

ONS figures have UK at the highest death toll in Europe - higher than Italy, the European hub of this virus, and the FT say that the figures are actually higher.

We had 2 weeks notice of what was happening in Europe, and sat on our hands - or, went round shaking hands - this is deeply concerning, because these are the people who will be making the decisions you refer to.

Economy v Health? The cynical among us may think that the above already points out the UK government's thinking.

Keep safe.



Quote from Charles Revie on May 3, 2020, 8:39 am

Angela Merkel mentioned the other day that their R number had increased again after they relented on a few of the lockdown measures.

As you did mention that person I feel forced to say something as a German. More and more people in Germany are coming to the conclusion that the "powers that be" are misleading the public very much. Don't know if you are aware of the fact that in Germany is an increasing opposition on the streets nearly every day and the government is striking back with increasing brutality. As I grew up in the GDR I can very good remember the events behind the Iron curtain in 1989 and it's nearly the same going on here now.

If interested you may have a look at the first minutes of this little video:

The young man in that video is a VIP in Germany, he is a well known head chef who has sold nearly 2 million books in the last years. He has a very good running worldwide business and spends a lot of money to save the nature of this planet. The only "crime" he is guilty of is that he uses his popularity to awake the people and to point at the errors of the politicians. All major distributors have canceled their business with him so there has to be much pressure on them from the government. Strange times here and the public press shows us nothing of this all. (Sorry for becoming emotional on this, but it is a so depressing experience)


Quote from Ron.Robinson on May 4, 2020, 6:35 am

this will most likely be another virus, like influenza, that we have to learn to live with. No cures, just an annual injection for certain age groups, to minimise the risk for those getting it.

That is totally right. But that was foreseeable at the end of March already! And the "powers that be" have ruined the complete German economy without real reasons.

Afternoon Gerald, hope you are well,


Let me first of all thank you for your input on this matter.

I only used Angela Merkel as an example of a country who had apparently flattened the curve and were easing restrictions - no other reason.  I could very well, now, have used Spain, Italy or France. As usual Germany were ahead of the game, so were used as an example where the R number was slightly increasing again.

The R number as I'm sure you know is not the only measurement of "success" as it should be aligned with the number of new Covid cases - if both or lowering then that (scientists say) augurs well for the future.

I will check out your video this afternoon, but not right now as our Scottish First Minister's briefing is due in 20 minutes or so.

The economy is certainly very important to any country, there's no doubt about that - but imo there should be a balance, after all if everyone is dead then there's no-one to keep the economy running. Different nations look at this in different ways, the US for instance would certainly seem to be leaning towards economy first, people afterwards.

I have no data to dispute your "ruined German economy" statement, and can only agree that the "powers that be" are corrupt - it's not always the Politicians though that are the "powers at be" - you only have to check out the Dominic Cummings situation in England right now - not a Politician but apparently running the show.

Trying to cover all your points Gerald.

There is opposition to the lockdown in most countries - but I can't subscribe to the notion that Covid is a hoax (not saying you're saying that - but some are). We, in Scotland, are looking to preserve the population first and foremost - with a general easement, when safe.  This will probably start on Friday of this week - I completely support this stance.

I'll check out your video and reply later.

Take care.

Hello again Gerald,


I tried to access the video you referenced - it appears to be protected?

If you don't mind could I ask you a couple of questions?

Curious what you mean when you say the German government is misleading the populace - do you mean with Covid figures; cases & deaths?

The opposition you refer to - is this just the lockdown restrictions that have been put in place?

Take care sir,






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