BHA chief Rust confident racing can continue

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust “firmly believes” racing can continue behind closed doors in the event of another lockdown in England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a press conference with his chief medical and scientific advisers on Saturday afternoon, amid speculation he will impose a national lockdown in England next week.

Racing resumed on June 1 after a near three-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with strict measures in place to help reduce the spread of the virus and only essential staff initially allowed on course.

Owners were allowed to return to the track in a limited way on July 4, with those restrictions steadily eased in the following weeks, and two successful trials for the return of spectators were held at Doncaster and Warwick in September.

However, the Government put a hold on those trials as Covid cases began to increase and with its behind-closed-doors policy in place, the BHA thinks racing can continue even if restrictions are tightened.

Rust said: “Racing is categorised as an elite sport and has in place strict Government-agreed protocols, which have been brilliantly observed by our participants and attendees. We have been monitoring racing since June and have seen no evidence of transmission of the virus at any of our near 500 events.

“Racing has continued behind closed doors in Wales and other nations which have enacted lockdowns and we firmly believe it can continue behind closed doors here.”

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