From Saturday onwards, amateur riders will not be permitted to take part in races under Rules as the British Horseracing Authority announced changes to the race programme due to the increase in coronavirus cases across the country.

The decision to stop amateurs from riding is in line with government restrictions around the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension of grassroots sport.

Existing races that were for amateurs will still continue but their conditions changed to allow for professional riders only until further notice.

Hunter chases will continue to be programmed but as with the new restrictions outlined for amateurs, races will be open to professional riders only, including conditional riders.

Base weights for these races will be reduced in line with other professional races and the associated race conditions will be updated accordingly.

In an update, the BHA said: “These decisions have been taken by the racing industry’s Covid-19 group which includes representatives from racecourses and horsemen, and which keeps Covid protocols under constant review to determine how racing can continue to strengthen its approach.”