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Trainers advised to continue exercising horses on gallops under strict protocols

Wed 25 Mar 2020

Trainers are being advised to continue gallops exercise, and adhere strictly to social-distancing requirements, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister spelled out, in a broadcast address to the nation on Monday night, that the vast majority of the public must stay at home until further notice.

The only exceptions are one permitted piece of outdoor exercise per day, essential shopping for provisions or for medical attention – while observing social-distancing.

A list of key workers who are exempt has, however, already been published – and indications are that stable staff fall into the bracket of those also still allowed to travel to their place of employment.

The National Trainers Federation chief executive Rupert Arnold issued swift advice to members on the organisation’s website about the implications understood for racing yards and their staff.

He wrote: “Within minutes of the Prime Minister’s announcement of strict rules on the movement of people from 9pm tonight, trainers began asking us whether horses could be exercised tomorrow.

“We have already sent a message to the industry Covid Group pointing out that in all European racing jurisdictions where severe restrictions on movement have already been implemented, racehorses are continuing to be exercised.

“Our advice to you is therefore to continue getting horses out on the gallops and other exercise areas, while observing the distancing rules with the utmost discipline.”

The NTF guidance warns that trainers should take responsibility to stress to employees the strict arrangements under which they must work during the ongoing pandemic.

Arnold’s briefing added: “Tell your staff that failure to observe the rules is a disciplinary offence.

“Make sure you, as their employer, lead by example and that all the necessary equipment and advice is available in the yard for them to wash and dry hands, clean surfaces and keep at least two metres apart.

“We are seeking confirmation that feed, bedding and other essential supplies and services such as vet, farrier and muck removal can continue.”

The NTF intends to issue further advice following a conference call with racing’s Covid Group on Tuesday.

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