Trainers back decision to race in Ireland

Irish trainers have backed the decision to let racing continue behind closed doors despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The British Horseracing Authority has announced the suspension of all racing in the UK until the end of April but the ruling body of Irish racing has decided to keep the show on the road, albeit with strict protocols in place.

Multiple Grade One-winning trainer Paul Nolan is one who believes Horse Racing Ireland has made the right call.

“It’s obviously good news if we can keep racing, as long as everybody is mindful of the situation and is conscientious in washing their hands and doing everything they can to keep people safe,” Nolan said.

“You see what’s going on worldwide and obviously the main thing we need to do is keep everybody safe and well.

“I was racing in Wexford on Tuesday and it is a little bit strange. There was obviously no public there and jockeys had to come out of the weighing room one by one and a certain distance apart.

“It is going to be a little bit different, but it’s not that hard to do all these extra things and if it stops of the spread of the virus and keeps us all racing, then it’s definitely worth it.”

Ado McGuinness is a regular visitor to Ireland’s sole all-weather track, Dundalk, and is also looking forward to start of the Flat turf season at Naas on Monday.

“I’m delighted. They’ve done a very good job regarding safety so far and with people not interacting,” he said.

“There might be no atmosphere, but we are racing and keeping people in work. It’s an industry and if we don’t race for six or seven weeks, jobs will go.

“I’m happy we’re still going, but we’re being very cautious. There are big spaces on racecourses, which help, and if nobody in the industry comes down with it, I see no reason why we can’t race.

“A big difference between the UK (and Ireland) is that we use private ambulances and the government wanted us to keep going, which was a big plus. I’m sure people will disagree, but it’s great for our industry.

“Hopefully we can stay going. It was a big relief when I could tell my yard racing was going ahead.”