Trainers in Britain have been advised to attend to the welfare of their horses without maintaining their fitness to race by following new guidelines issued by the BHA in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime minister Boris Johnson enacted a lockdown on Monday, requiring people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, closing non-essential shops and community spaces and stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
The BHA guidelines support stable staff continuing to travel to work but only where it was impossible for them to work from home.
The statement read: “Horses should of course be cared for at all times – including access to food and water, clean bedding and exercise. Many businesses will require staff to travel to work to provide this.
Horses making their way to the Warren Hill gallops in Newmarket before the lockdown was announced
“Our current understanding is that, in order to adhere to government guidance, the standard of care should be focused primarily on upholding their welfare, rather than their fitness to race.
“Any non-essential activity beyond this should be carefully considered and, where possible, avoided.”
On Tuesday National Association of Racing Staff chief executive George McGrath spoke of the necessity for stable staff to continue to work, if they feel comfortable to do so, to maintain the health of the racehorse population.
McGrath said: “The sooner we get back racing the better, even if it is behind closed doors, and as such we need the horses to be ready. If we were to stop it would take weeks for them to get back to peak fitness.”
The BHA extended its advice to the racecourse staff who, in a similar vein to stable staff, may still travel to work “to perform core outdoor duties, provided requirements around social distancing and gatherings of no more than two people are adhered to”.
There will be no racing in Britain until May 1 at the earliest.
The full BHA guidance can be read here.
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