News

Horse Racing in Ireland suspended as all sporting events are cancelled

By Harry Allwood@H_Allwood1
Tue 24 Mar 2020

All sporting events in Ireland have been suspended until at least April 19 following an announcement from the Irish Government on Tuesday.

Racing has been continuing to stage meetings behind closed doors since March 13, as countries around the world try to limit the spread of coronavirus.

However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Tuesday that all sporting events, even those without spectators, would be cancelled from midnight tonight.

Ireland's Prime Minister said in a Government briefing in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon: "All sporting events are cancelled, including those being held behind closed doors."

The Irish Grand National meeting, which was due to take centre stage at Fairyhouse on Easter weekend between April 11-13, is one of the key fixtures which will be lost.

Racing in Britain was suspended from last Wednesday, with no action anticipated before May 1 at the earliest.

If you are a Racing TV member and would like to pause your subscription while racing is suspended, you can do so here.

Also among the measures announced by Mr Varadkar, which are effective from midnight tonight, was the closure of all betting shops.

Mr Varadkar has urged everyone to stay at home to slow the spread of Covid-19.

He added in the Government briefing: "We believe we need to do more to flatten the curve.

"People should stay at home if at all possible - this is the best way to slow the virus."

Racing was held at Clonmel on Tuesday, and Dundalk had been due to be in action on Wednesday.

County Tipperary trainer David Marnane said: "We're all in this together and we'll just have to do the best we can.

"It's a devastating blow to us, but it is to everybody in the country. We're not the only ones.

"We'll have to knuckle down and get through this. We will get through this and come out the other side, however long it takes.

"We won't lie down. For the greater good, I understand where we're coming from.

"All you have to do is see the pictures coming from Italy and racing is only a part of life. We just have to do the best we can and see where we are in a month.

"We have to keep going with the horses. We have to exercise them. It's not like a shop where can just turn a key and walk away from it.

"We have to do what we can and we will. We're in it for the long haul and we'll come out the other side."

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) confirm that racing will cease in Ireland as of midnight tonight as per the latest Government guidelines on Covid-19.

The Board of Horse Racing Ireland will meet tomorrow morning (Wednesday) and will issue a press release soon after.

Click here if you wish to pause your Racing TV subscription.

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