Managers at the Racing Post have taken the decision to temporarily suspend publication of the newspaper after Thursday’s edition due to the restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
With no racing in Britain or Ireland, other sports cancelled and betting shops closed, there was “no other choice” according to Editor Tom Kerr.
The Racing Post website will continue to operate and provide updates on racing’s response to the current health crisis.
Kerr said: “At some point in the coming weeks or months, when the worst of this disease has passed, horseracing will resume. When racing is back, the Racing Post newspaper will be back as well, filled with all the wit, wisdom, data and analysis that you expect from us.”
Inglis Easter to take place online
Inglis’ flagship auction, the Easter Yearling Sale, will be conducted via the company’s digital platform due to the coronavirus pandemic making a live sale impossible.
The Australian government on Wednesday night had ordered the closure of all auction houses in its efforts to combat the spread of the virus.
Horses catalogued for the sale will remain on farms for pre-sale inspections, to then be sold on the first Sunday and Monday of April via the digital platform.
Inglis General Manager of Bloodstock Sales and Marketing, Sebastian Hutch, said: “It is understood that this is a difficult situation and that not all vendors will be comfortable with the scheduled arrangements.
“We understand that the current circumstances are such that it would not be possible to please everybody, but decisions have been made in consideration of the circumstances as they prevail currently and how we are advised that they are likely to develop.
“The market will undoubtedly be very difficult. However, this situation represents an important opportunity for breeders and owners to trade stock.
“We will be working hard to generate further buyer interest and participation in the sale, and we encourage all vendors to consider doing the same.”
The announcement followed Racing Victoria suspending racing in the state after a participant was awaiting results from a test for coronavirus.
Giles Thompson of Racing Victoria said: “One of our participants had confirmed that they were on a flight on March 12, a commercial flight. On that flight there was another passenger, completely unrelated, who has since been confirmed with a case of Covid-19.
“As a result, the protocols we’ve got in place have had to kick in and we’ve abandoned this afternoon’s meeting at Sandown and tomorrow’s meetings at Kilmore and Pakenham.
“This was 13 days ago that this potential exposure happened, I just wish to point out that this participant is not displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 at the moment and we’ll provide a further update tomorrow on how racing may resume on Friday.
“If the participant’s test is negative, then we will look to resume racing as soon as we can.”
Guidance for trainers
The British Horseracing Authority has issued guidelines for trainers to follow in maintaining the welfare of their horses with strict outlines on how they should be exercised.
It follows Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday evening that placed Britain on lockdown, closing non-essential shops and advising the British public to stay at home.
The BHA guidelines advise on stable staff continuing to travel to work but only where it was impossible for them to work at home.
In a statement, it said: “We are working with Defra to ensure we are interpreting their guidance correctly. Our current understanding is that horses can continue to be exercised as usual, provided guidance on social distancing and hygiene is strictly adhered to.
“Staff at yards must follow Government advice relating to social distancing when outside – remaining at least two metres apart and avoiding gatherings of more than two people, apart from members of their own household.”
You can read the full update from the BHA here: https://media.britishhorseracing.com/bha/covid19/Lockdown_guidance_Yards_racecourses_studs.pdf
Carr takes horses out of training
Yorkshire-based trainer Ruth Carr made the difficult decision to take all horses in her care out of training due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a post on her website, Carr said: “I cannot realistically see we will be racing in May. All the horses know their jobs so cantering them every day with no end goal is only putting miles on their joints and not doing them any favours mentally
“They will get turned out every day in their big gangs as normal and get a good ration of feed so when racing is given the green light they will not take too long to get back to fitness. Turn out here is unlike any other racing yard that I know of so you might be surprised how much exercise they do whilst out together in their herds!
“For all we try hard – every surface that we touch is a risk and there’s masses here! Barrow handles, feed scoops, gates, doors, light switches, feed bins, muckin out kit, pens, the kettle, the flusher on the loo… it never ends. I feel with reducing the amount of people here we are at least reducing that risk and doing ‘our bit’.
“I don’t know what is the right or wrong course of action but am doing what I think is right for my team, my owners, my business, and, without sounding over dramatic, the country. The sooner we all stay at home the sooner we will come out of this at the other side and can enjoy all those things we’ve taken for granted!”
OBS sale rescheduled
Ocala has rescheduled its Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training, due to be staged between April 21-24, to June 9-12 owing to the outbreak of coronavirus in the United States.
OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said: “As we all continue to deal with the current circumstances, we need to balance a sense of social responsibility with providing our consignors the best opportunity to market their horses and give buyers the best place to obtain them.”