In line with the Government’s medium-term plan for Living with Covid-19, published earlier this week, Horse Racing Ireland today announced that from Monday next (September 21) owners will be welcomed back to Irish racecourses.
Government guidelines now permit racing and other outdoor events to have a limited number of spectators on the racecourse in addition to those necessary to stage the event. With owners a stated priority for HRI, the decision has been taken to allow two people per owner to attend from next week. Pre-meeting health screening and temperature checking will be required.
Further details will be issued to owners today relating to the specific protocols to be followed.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “We are delighted to confirm that for the first time since March 13, owners will be permitted to return to the racecourse from Monday next. Owners play the most important role in Irish racing and they have had to wait quite some time to return to the racecourse to see their horses run. We have always said that getting owners back on the racecourse was our first priority and we have been working closely on this with the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners and their representative Caren Walsh.
“As all key personnel who have been racing behind closed doors since June 8 will testify, these are not race fixtures as we used to know them, and given the ongoing public health risk, it remains as important now as it ever has been, that all those attending racecourses adhere strictly to the race day protocols.
“Since we resumed racing in Ireland, the level of care and compliance with the Covid-19 protocols has been excellent and it is vital that everybody continues to comply with the rules on the racecourse around pre-health screening, social distancing and the wearing of face masks or coverings at all times.”
]The Association of Irish Racehorse Owners is deeply saddened by the passing of jockey Pat Smullen on Tuesday.
Pat was closely connected with so many owners who had the privilege of having the seven-time champion jockey riding their horses throughout his illustrious career.
From his first winner at Dundalk in June 1993 right through to his final success, which incidentally came at that same venue some 25 years later in 2018, Pat is fondly remembered by all who came into his company.
Even following his cancer diagnosis in March 2018, Pat showed all of the great qualities that had epitomized his career in the saddle, with enormous fundraising efforts which culminated in the Pat Smullen Charity Raceday at the Curragh on day two of Irish Champions Weekend last year.
That day will live long in the memory for all involved as one of the greatest days on an Irish racecourse, one that owners are deeply appreciative to have played their small part in, as Pat’s efforts resulted in over €2.5million being raised for Cancer Trials Ireland.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Pat’s wife Frances, their three children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah and their wider circle of family and friends at this time.