Horse Racing in Ireland is now in its third week since the return to action at Naas on Monday, June 8th.
The original Government phased return had indicated racing would return on Monday next, 29th June, but following a submission made by HRI and the IHRB to Government, this was moved to June 8th.
This has made a notable difference to the industry allowing many races to take place including two classics and a build-up to the Irish Derby this weekend. It has also seen additional coverage on RTÉ in recent weeks which will continue in the coming weekends and the recent return of National Hunt racing this week also. The importance of racing given the go-ahead to return on June 8th is impossible to understate.
One of the requirements to ensure racing returned earlier than originally indicated was a strict set of protocols outlining the people considered essential to the running of a meeting only being allowed to attend. This has, of course, ensured that owners have not been allowed to attend race meetings in Ireland thus far since its return on June 8th.
AIRO, through our appointed representative, engaged with HRI on this matter on an ongoing basis since racing ceased in late March. It has been our number one priority throughout this process whilst respecting the Government guidelines to ensure that owners could return at the first appropriate opportunity.
Many owners will have noted the Government announcement on Friday 19th June clearly outlined that outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people would only be allowed from June 29th. It further noted that gatherings up to 500 people would be allowed from July 20th. Yesterday Horse Racing Ireland released their intention to allow owners to return to racing on July 20th which is in keeping with Government guidelines.
Further limited easing of restrictions were announced in relation to foreign runners in Premier Handicaps, press limits slightly increasing and over 70’s allowed to attend from July 1st. The 2lb increase in weights will continue as will 48-hour declarations which are required to facilitate health screening requirements. Whilst a limit of 18 runners exists for most races there will be additional runners allowed in certain circumstances – Premier Handicaps at the Curragh will allow 20 while the Galway Plate and Hurdle will allow 20 and 22 respectively.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank owners for their patience throughout what has been an extremely difficult period for them and the entire industry. We have been encouraged by the number of owners who have been in touch to support the return of racing whilst acknowledging the need for essential personnel only. We are also aware that many owners and indeed owner/breeders were disappointed not to be able to view their runners at present and we look forward to being able to see them return to racing on July 20th to view their runners.
We would also point out the current additions are available for owners:
• Owners with declared runners each day are sent a racecard by email
• Winning owners receive a video of their race via email.
• All other owners can request a video via the HRI Owners department.
• The winning owner receives a photo.
• Syndicate members who have purchased additional AIR cards can apply to AIR seeking a credit representative of the time they were unable to attend racing - email@example.com
• AIRO continue to work actively with representatives on the NH and Flat programming working groups. We actively promoted the additional divides in the lower graded races at recent meetings which have notably increased opportunities for many owners.
• AIRO is currently in negotiation with other bodies in relation to possible future benefits for owners and will revert as soon as possible.
• AIRO welcome your views on any matters relating to owners on firstname.lastname@example.org
Owners will be aware that strict protocols and pre-registration is required before attending all race meetings. This will be updated to include owners requirements before July 20th .
We will continue to keep our members informed of any relevant information as it becomes available.
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