Irish horse racing, which has been running in the absence of spectators since March 13th, has now been fully cancelled until April 19th or later.
Racing from Ireland had been one of the last remaining sporting events in either Britain or Ireland but has had to halt operation with coronavirus measures ramped up in the country.
Having initially run without racegoers to prevent outside mass gatherings of more than 500 people, there were also further measures taken by the HRI after a meeting last week. These included limiting meetings to one per day and switching Dundalk’s evening cards to take place during the day.
With coronavirus prevention measures decimating the sporting calendar, not only at home but across the world, Irish racing had become vital for both punters and bookies alike.
On Saturday, the ITV cameras broadcast with a skeleton crew from Thurles in the absence of British racing. This led to strong viewing figures and turnover, giving a boost to all those involved in the industry. It will be hoped that racing can return as soon as is safely possible.
What Changed for Horse Racing in Ireland?
It was widely thought that racing would have to come to a complete stop in Ireland, with the country, and every nation, battling the coronavirus outbreak.
Although racing had found a temporary compromise to restrictions on public gatherings and safety precautions, the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar introduced further measures on Tuesday which made continuing not possible.
All sport in the country has now been cancelled, including those behind closed doors, and outdoor gatherings were restricted to no more than four people unless they were from the same household.
Varadkar has said:
“We cannot stop this virus, but working together we can slow it in its tracks and push it back.”
“These are extraordinarily difficult times for everyone – in Ireland and around the world. But no matter what happens, we will always put your life and your health ahead of any other concern.”