Horse Racing Ireland

Owners Again Banned From Irish Courses

Owners in Ireland are once again banned from watching their runners in person, as Irish racing will continue behind closed doors due to the coronavirus. The Irish government moved the whole country to level three restrictions on Monday evening following an Irish Cabinet meeting with chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan earlier in the day. The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) had recommended all of Ireland be placed under level five restrictions for the next four weeks. Under level five restrictions all organised sports are halted. Prior to tonight's...

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BHA/HRI Adjust Restrictions on Internationally-Trained Runners

Reciprocal arrangements on participation by runners trained in international jurisdictions were announced jointly by the British Horseracing Authority and Horse Racing Ireland on Monday. Beginning on Oct. 1, internationally-trained horses will be permitted to participate in all British races other than Class 5 and 6 handicaps/classified stakes on the Flat and Class 5 handicaps over Jumps. All such runners will be subject to the relevant government regulations. The same arrangements will also be introduced in Ireland on Oct. 1. The Irish Rules of Racing will continue to state that "a...

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HRI Reveals 2021 Fixture List

Horse Racing Ireland has published its 2021 fixtures list with 380 meetings, up from the originally scheduled 370 in 2020. The list contains 379 meetings with one designated as a floating fixture to be programmed when demand for opportunities is high. The 10 additional meetings include seven turf fixtures (including the floating fixture) and three all-weather meetings. Jason Morris, HRI's director of racing, said, "The 2021 fixture list has very largely reverted to the original 2020 schedule with the number of blank Sundays being retained at six to help ease...

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Owners To Return To Irish Racecourses From Monday

Owners will be permitted to return to Irish racecourses from Monday in line with the government's medium-term COVID-19 plan published earlier this week. Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said, "We are delighted to confirm that for the first time since Mar. 13, owners will be permitted to return to the racecourse from Monday next. Owners play the most important role in Irish racing and they have had to wait quite some time to return to the racecourse to see their horses run. We have always said that...

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Irish Government Releases New COVID Guidelines, Spectators Possible

Crowds of up to 500 people will be possible at Irish racecourses, after the Irish government announced the latest COVID-19 rules on Tuesday. Ireland is at stage 2 in the government's coronavirus alert, which allows for 200 more people at racecourses than previously. If Ireland reaches stage 1, 500 people would allowed, up from 200. If the pandemic worsens and reaches stage 3 or stage 4 in the new grading system, racing would once again go behind closed doors. At stage 5, racing, along with other sports, would cease. "It's...

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HRI Industry Education and Training Survey Results Announced

The education and training survey results, which 699 people participated in from Nov. 4-Dec. 16, 2019, were announced by Horse Racing Ireland on Tuesday. The main challenges of all survey participants-147 employers, 482 employees and 47 students-were financial and getting time off for additional training. Other issues for employees are work hours and low income, while for employers, set-up costs and staff shortages were problems. The 2020 industry education and training strategy developed by HRI to combat these changes are as follows: Attract people to join the racing and breeding...

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Group 1 Jockeys Exempt From Irish Quarantine

Overseas jockeys will be permitted to bypass Ireland's 14-day quarantine requirement to ride on Group 1 cards, with the Irish government granting an exemption for elite athletes and sportspeople ahead of Irish Champions Weekend next weekend. Irish jockeys traveling overseas to ride in Group 1s will also be exempt from quarantine upon return. "We have had a change in the government protocols concerning sportspeople and athletes published today, but it is very much on a case-by-case basis," confirmed Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive Officer Brian Kavanagh. "It will be limited...

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Britain, Ireland To Utilise Non-Standard Race Times

After being trialled in February, non-standard race times-like the 2.22 at Warwick or the 3.13 at Fairyhouse-will be permanently introduced from the start of next month. The move will provide greater flexibility and avoid race clashes and delays during busy periods. Race times for events covered by ITV will remain standardised in traditional five-minute slots whenever possible. Richard Wayman, chief operating officer of the British Horseracing Authority, said, "The trial of non-standard times in February resulted in a reduced number of race clashes and delays on busy afternoons, which was...

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Owners Remain Barred From Irish Courses

The Irish government has extended its racing-behind-closed-doors policy until at least Sept. 13, Racing Post reported on Tuesday. As a result, owners remain barred from Irish courses for the time being as a result of Taoiseach Micheal Martin's announcement. Originally, in phase four of Ireland's  reopening process the limit on people allowed at an outdoor event was going to increase from 200 to 500 on Aug. 31. Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh told Racing Post, "We have said all along that owners are the first priority and there...

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Heider Family Stables to Sponsor G3 Round Tower S.

American-based owner Scott Heider and his family will sponsor the G3 Round Towner S., The Curragh announced on Thursday. The six-furlong contest for 2-year-olds will be held on Aug. 28. Heider's yellow and red colours are under the Heider Family Stables banner. They have been carried to victory by Kitten's Joy colt Crossfirehurricane in the G3 CoolmoreTen Sovereigns Gallinule S. in June. "It's just been a fantastic experience for us," Heider reflected, on his five-year involvement with Irish racing. "We love our partnership with Joseph O'Brien and we've been very...

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Longines Irish Champions Weekend to Be Held Without Spectators

The Longines Irish Champions Weekend, held Sept. 12-13, will take place behind closed doors, the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Committee confirmed on Wednesday. The committee's recommendation, which was made as the COVID-19 pandemic continues,  was approved by the Board of Horse Racing Ireland at their July meeting on Monday, July 20. The Sept. 12 card at Leopardstown features the G1 Irish Champion S., and G1 Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron S. The Curragh plays host on the second day, with four Group 1 races on tap: the Comer Group International Irish...

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Irish Statistics Drive Home COVID Impact

Horse Racing Ireland on Friday released its mid-year figures, and with indicators down across the board they highlighted the severe repercussions the COVID-19 pandemic has had. Betting with on-course bookmakers and the Tote was down 73.9% through the first half of the year; the public has not been allowed on an Irish racecourse since early March, and thus attendance has been down by 80%. Eighty-seven fixtures were lost between March and June, and severe interruption to the sales calendar meant public auction sales in Ireland are down 87.3% year-on-year. The...

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