Britain making plans for racing return

Two 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 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Any resumption will be behind closed doors on the Flat, but only when government advice permits.

Should there be a heavily quarantined reintroduction, two of Arena’s all-weather tracks have the facilities required to host such a scenario.

Lingfield and Newcastle both have hotels on course which could be used to house the essential personnel needed to stage meetings.

“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,” Martin Cruddace, chief executive of ARC, told Racing TV.

“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.

“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.

“I think there will be fairly clear indications from the government in terms of restrictions put in place on movement.

“It could be areas, we don’t know, and then I think it’s incumbent upon us to say to the government here is the detailed plan that meets your new criteria and deals as much as possible with every possible public and public health objection.

“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.

“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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