Naas to host first Irish meeting on resumption with Classics soon to follow

Mon 18 May 2020

Naas will host the first fixture when racing resumes behind closed doors in Ireland on June 8, with the Irish 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas also set for the opening week.

Horse Racing Ireland officials on Friday expressed their delight at clearance from the Irish Government to restart the sport on that date, which at one stage looked like being June 29.

As is planned in Britain, it will be a high-profile comeback, with Classic action at the Curragh on Friday, June 12 featuring the 2,000 Guineas while the 1,000 Guineas will be held 24 hours later.

Watch what Brian Kavanagh, chief exeutive of the HRI, had to say on Luck On Sunday

The Irish Derby retains its traditional date at the Curragh on Saturday, June 27, as does the Irish Oaks on Saturday, July 18. Irish Champions Weekend will take place on September 12 and 13. Jumps racing will begin again at Limerick on June 22.

International participation will be restricted to Group One and Group Two races only for June, all of which must be in strict compliance with Government policy on the movement of people in and out of the country. It is envisaged that all black-type races will be open to international competition from the start of July.

For the first three weeks, HRI said racing will be restricted to nine racecourses “which are more centrally located to minimise travel distances and which also have higher stable capacities given the requirement for one stable per horse under the new protocols.”

All fixtures will take place under the strict protocols, one of those protocols to involve the prior health screening of all those who will be in attendance at each meeting. To facilitate the efficient delivery of that, 48-hour declarations will be introduced for all races in June.

Ger Lyons gives his response to the new Irish programme

HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “We are grateful to everybody for the patience they have shown during this very difficult time and we will provide every opportunity for essential personnel to fully understand and implement the return to racing protocols.

“Regrettably, due to the financial circumstances of the industry, prize-money cuts are inevitable and we have adopted a tiered approach, endeavouring to protect the grassroots of the industry as much as possible.

“We expect there to be significant demand for horses to run once we resume, and we will aim to provide opportunities across the spectrum of age, gender and ability. We will have missed 11 weeks’ racing which will take some time to catch up. We intend to do this over the course of the rest of the year rather than immediately.

“The resumption of racing will allow sales, trade and other ancillary services to get going again and will be widely welcomed in those areas.

“Horse Racing Ireland are liaising closely with our international counterparts regarding the resumption of racing in those countries and issues such as protocols, international runners and prize money levels.”

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