]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.
The AIRO were naturally extremely disappointed but understanding to hear that owners would not be allowed to attend race meetings on Monday 20th July as was previously indicated. This follows yesterday evening's announcement by Government whereby the upcoming reopening phase would postpone the limit on outdoor gatherings increasing to 500 until August 10th.
We wish to assure our members that at the first appropriate opportunity we will endeavour to ensure that owners are allowed to return to racing in order to enjoy watching their horses run. Thereafter we will work to explore the most innovative ways to enhance the experience which will naturally be very different to that experienced by owners before this crisis.
Horse Racing Ireland have released important information for the return to racecourse of owners. Please note, HRI have confirmed that the intended date of July 20th for the return of owners to racecourses has been delayed to the deferral of the Government roadmap.
Horse Racing in Ireland is now in its third week since the return to action at Naas on Monday, June 8th.
Horse Racing Ireland in consultation with the IHRB have developed a Covid-19 protocol document for key personnel necessary to run race fixtures behind closed doors.
This document details Covid-19 protocols for each industry group and the procedures which must be undertaken by all racecourses hosting race fixtures, to ensure that racing will resume in a safe and appropriate manner for everyone.
Educational webinars have also been produced by HRI and IHRB to bring the Covid-19 return to racing protocols to life. It is incumbent on everybody in the industry to familiarise themselves with the new protocols, to safeguard everyone's health and wellbeing.
The videos can be viewed HERE.
Members of AIRO will have been aware that, for some time now, the Council have been working towards changing the legal status of the organisation from an Association to that of a Company Limited by Guarantee.
AIRO Racing CLG would also like to draw owners’ attention to the HRI Press Release of Wednesday 1st April.
Click HERE to view.
Any comments which owners wish to make in relation to racing and its return can be made by emailing email@example.com and they will be passed to our owners representative on the HRI board.
Racing CLG would like to take this opportunity to thank HRI, for its continued hard work at these difficult times. We wish our members all the very best at these times and look forward to the safe resumption of racing in the future.
Horse Racing Ireland have announced on Wednesday 18th March that racing in Ireland will continue to go ahead whilst adhering to strict guidelines.