• Quote: ‘Racing will not be beaten by shutdown’ – BHA chief executive and chair, Nick Rust

By Andrew Atkinson

The coronavirus epidemic that has seen racing halted – until the end of April – has led to the BHA announcing outline plans to provide financial assistance to those affected.

UK PM Boris Johnson said together the tide on Covid-19 impacting lives, can be turned, with new legislation imposed on the country as the virus spreads.

Social distancing and self-isolation measures are in place in the UK with businesses closed.

The British racing coronavirus’ outline plan is in four categories, with finance, people, medical and equine mooted.

BHA chief executive and chair of the industry group, Nick Rust said: “The effort from across the sport is incredible.

“There is a determination that racing will not be beaten by this shutdown. The willingness to help is universal.

“We will do all we can to keep people informed – as we progress.”

The racing industry group met again on March 20 – in a bid to finalise the initial plans put forward.

The BHA said all avenues of potential assistance are being explored, prior to a submission made to the UK Government.

Representatives of the National Trainers Federation, Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Racehorse Owners Association have aired their views, following the cancellation of meetings within racing.

The BHA has also taken steps to protect the welfare of horses during the coronavirus outbreak.

Discussions have been debated, concerning the planning around raceday functions, including stewarding and veterinary matters, assessing what is needed for race meetings – when they eventually return.

The Racing Foundation, set up in 2012, to support Charitable racing causes with an endowment from the net proceeds of the government’s sale of the Tote, is set to help financially.

“We are well placed to support the industry – in the short term – and working with senior racing executives on how best to use our resources to support the developing plan,” said a spokesperson.

Cases of coronavirus have been reported following people attending the 2020 four day Cheltenham Festival that took place in March.