Further Covid restrictions stop amateur racing from Saturday 16 January
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed a number of changes to the upcoming race programme, driven in part by the rise in COVID-19 infections across the UK and the ongoing government restrictions to try and contain the spread of the virus.
These decisions have been taken by the racing industry’s COVID-19 group which includes representatives from racecourses and horsemen.
Amateur riders will not be permitted to take part in races under the Rules from this Saturday, 16 January, onwards. This is in line with government restrictions around the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension of grassroots sport. Existing races will have their conditions changed to allow for professional riders only until further notice.
Hunter chases will continue to be programmed but, in line with the restrictions outlined above will be open to professional riders only. This includes conditional riders.
With such a critical Covid-19 situation across the whole of the UK at present, strict compliance of government regulations is required in order for racing to continue. Regrettably, the title of “amateur” prohibits all amateur jockey participation.
The BHA and British racecourses working together from the start of the pandemic have enabled racing’s continuation due to their expertise and under strict covid protocols. We are very grateful to the BHA for their support in enabling experienced National Hunt amateurs to participate until now. It should be noted that no other amateur sports have been allowed during this current lockdown except for Olympic sports.
The preservation of Hunter Chases is good news in these challenging times, being an important part of the amateur National Hunt calendar. With the current cessation of point-to-pointing this is extremely beneficial with such a large number of racehorses currently at a standstill.
We all look forward to the lifting of lockdown and returning to normality as soon as possible.