Owners to be permitted on course from July 4

Horse Racing

Test events to be staged on Wednesday.

Owners will be allowed to attend race meetings from July 4, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

Tests events will be staged this week to see how well new protocols will work, but should all go smoothly, those involved in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday will be allowed to see their horses run.

Attendance will be limited to two owners per horse and they will be restricted to specific “owner zones” in line with current government guidance.

The plans have been agreed by the Racecourse Association (RCA), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

The two test fixtures will be Southwell and Kempton on Wednesday and owners will be notified via email about how to register once their horse is declared to run.

The protocols are only to be applied in England at this stage, but the BHA statement added: “British racing continues to engage with the Scottish and Welsh Governments about the return of owners for behind closed doors fixtures”.

Not all racecourses will be able to accommodate owners immediately as some remain subject to local authority clearance and operational restrictions.

A guidance document listing all protocols that must be followed has been produced and is available to all owners.

Among the measures which must be followed is a health-screening process which includes a Covid-19 learning module, followed by a health assessment and temperature check on arrival.

Owners are also to arrive no earlier than 45 minutes before their horse runs and leave within an hour of their race.

The BHA’s chief medical adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, said: “As with our wider approach to resumption, the return of owners is predicated on a phased, risk-managed plan, which establishes infection control protocols that are essential for the safe continuation of racing during the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

“These include pre-entry screening for owners and segregated areas to facilitate social distancing at no closer than two metres – measures that prioritise the safety of our attendees, are consistent with government guidance for elite sports fixtures behind closed doors, and are supported by the UK Government.”

RCA chief executive, David Armstrong, added: “We are delighted to be able to welcome back owners to the racecourse, albeit in limited numbers for now.

“Owners are critical to our sport and their patience and support during lockdown has been vital.

“The special measures that are set out in the new protocols should enable owners to enjoy the racing experience again but to do so in a safe and responsible fashion.”

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