Racing to resume at Yarmouth - behind closed doors

Racing at Great Yarmouth, August 2016. Picture: James Bass

Racing at Great Yarmouth, August 2016. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Racing will resume behind closed doors at Yarmouth this week after the government gave its permission for competitive sport in Britain to restart.

The racecourse on Caister Road closed on March 19 due to the coronavirus outbreak - but will open again for competition on Wednesday (June 3).

The ‘stage three’ guidance for elite and professional sport, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Saturday, outlines the facilities and processes that will need to be in place for sport to be safely staged following the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance has been developed in close consultation with the Deputy Chief Medical Officers of England, Public Health England and medical representatives across sport, including the British Horseracing Authority.

Racing’s rulers have been working towards June 1 as a start date for some time and published a 33-page protocol document last weekend.

Racing at Great Yarmouth, August 2016. Picture: James Bass

Racing at Great Yarmouth, August 2016. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

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A meet at Newcastle on Monday (June 1) will mark the first British meeting since Wetherby and Taunton raced on March 17.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

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“This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.

“This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.”

The BHA said in a tweet: “Horseracing is confirmed as one of the first sports to resume, beginning with a fixture behind closed doors @NewcastleRaces on Monday 1 June. It will be great to be back.”

Signalling its delight, the National Trainers Federation tweeted: “Brilliant news for all in British horseracing - our sport returns on Monday @NewcastleRaces. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this outcome @BHAPressOffice @DCMS. Thanks to all @RacehorseOwners who have stood by trainers.”

Royal Ascot remains in its traditional spot in the calendar this year, beginning on June 16. The Derby and Oaks have been pencilled in for July 4.

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