All racing fixtures to be run behind closed doors from tomorrow

Horse racing fixtures in Britain will be run behind closed doors from tomorrow due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has been announced.

The British Horseracing Authority has decided meetings can be held without spectators, initially until the end of March.

Taunton and Wetherby will be the first to go ahead with the new rules on Tuesday, as Ireland has already introduced such measures.

The plan was formulated earlier in consultation with the Racecourse Association (RCA) and The Horsemen’s Group.

The BHA has warned some future meetings may have to be cancelled and a programme will be agreed that is sustainable, considering staff absences.

A decision about the Randox Health Grand National event, from April 2-4, is due to be made at a later date.

The BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust said on Monday: "Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities and we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.

"The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services.

"We also have a range of measures in place designed in response to the government’s guidance on public health and we will continue to update these as appropriate.

"We acknowledge that today’s decision will also impact on local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, who are struggling at this time.

"We are following the government’s advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity and will continue to do so.

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