Owners and amateur rides are due to be welcomed back on to racecourses from March 29, according to an update released by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Friday evening.

“Following the publication on Monday, Feb. 22 of the UK Government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions in England, the industry Covid-19 group has carefully studied the implications for racing in England,” it read. “Any changes to racing protocols will move in parallel with the steps set out in the road map and are therefore dependent on the Government’s timetable.

“Since the plan was published on Monday, Feb. 22, the BHA and senior racing executives have engaged with Government to agree how racing can unwind its own restrictions. At this stage [Mar. 29], racecourses will not be able to provide hospitality, and strict attendance rules will remain in place, including a health screening process. Further enhancements to the owner experience will be permitted from Step Two, which comes into force from Monday, Apr. 12 at the earliest. In line with the resumption of outdoor hospitality on that date, our goal is for racecourses to be able to re-introduce outdoor hospitality for owners, in line with Government guidance.”

This year’s Cheltenham Festival will be staged behind closed doors as will Doncaster’s opener to the Flat season on March 27.