ARC Tracks Potential Venues for Racing Resumption

Lingfield Racecourse | Racing Post

Arena Racing Company tracks could be at the forefront of a return to racing in Britain when the time comes for the sport to resume following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Any resumption will be behind closed doors on the Flat, but only when Government advice permits, a point British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust has again reiterated. Should there be a heavily quarantined reintroduction, two of Arena's all-weather tracks are likely to have the facilities required to host such a scenario-Lingfield and Newcastle.

Martin Cruddace, chief executive of ARC, told Racing TV's Luck on Sunday programme, “My own personal view is we'll have a position whereby we will be in a heavily quarantined first phase and we would need to make sure the movement of people is kept to the absolute minimum. The first phase could and maybe should involve a quarantined, sanitised zone at a racecourse that is able to put on regular fixtures maybe each day, and where the participants do not have to leave that sanitised zone.

“To a large extent we are relying on Dr. Jerry Hill and his great team at the BHA and being guided by their advice, but I think we have to be in a position whereby we can meet every possible objection.

“So for instance those that unload the horses from the horse lorry and look after the horses at the stables may be part of the participants that are quarantined, and those that bring the horses to the racecourse do not have a chance to interfere with or infect the quarantined zone. I'm pretty sure we can put all of that in place.”

He added, “I should make the point that our first priority is the public health emergency, without a doubt, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't plan for when resumption can happen. It's important to emphasise we can't do anything without Government consent and that can only happen when the public health situation allows it to happen.

“I don't believe we will get to phase two and phase three until we have established the confidence amongst ourselves and within Government that we can deal with phase one and I believe we will do that. I can only speak for our tracks, and a lot depends on the conditions the Resumption of Racing Group and the BHA put on what is required–I don't think the conditions will be anything other than very restrictive, and rightly so.

“If that is the case what you are looking for is probably a hotel on the racecourse, a surface that can take regular racing and also a hotel that can provide 100 to 110 rooms. Obviously if you look at it regionally, we have Lingfield where we have a hotel and we have Newcastle which has a hotel on-site as well. So we have two very viable options. We have also been doing our own work, we have a 37-point plan to put in place and we only need two or three days' notice and we will be up and running.”

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