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Ayr stages first meeting back in Scotland on Monday after government green light

Ayr: stages first behind-closed-doors meeting back in Scotland on Monday
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Racing in Scotland has been given the green light by government to resume behind closed doors at Ayr on Monday after a break of more than three months.

The Scottish government confirmed on Thursday that professional sport can restart in accordance with the move to phase two in its Covid-19 plans with Flat meetings also taking place at Hamilton and Musselburgh before the end of the month.

The last meeting in Scotland took place behind closed doors at Kelso on March 16 and Perth will stage the first jumps meeting in Scotland on July 21.

Nick Rust, chief executive of the BHA, said:  “I'm very pleased Scottish racing is returning safely from next Monday at Ayr, ensuring our truly nationwide sport can resume in line with the protocols which have been working well since our resumption at Newcastle on June 1.

“It's a sign of horseracing’s preparedness that we're the first major sport to return in Scotland as the recovery from Covid-19 continues. We're extremely grateful for the support of the Scottish government in enabling this risk-managed return.”

The outdoor environment of the sport that was central to horseracing's resumption in Britain at the beginning of this month will be pivotal to the lobbying of government for owners to return on course, according to the BHA's chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea.

A group including the BHA and led by Racecourse Association chief executive David Armstrong is engaging with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding how owners could be able to attend race meetings when they have runners.

Dunshea said: “The outdoor environment of our sport has been central to us being able to commence first. Our training and competition occurs outdoors and the science says it’s a safer environment when these activities take place outdoors. Those same principles we applied in developing the protocols for racing to resume will be central to our lobbying to initially get owners and then racegoers back on course.

“What we ultimately achieve will be similar to what we achieved in racing resuming in that it'll be phased. In the first instance, we’d be hopeful we could get in the position to allow a number of owners on course per horse. We’re also exploring options that it may be able to take place with a different level of health screening and isolation."

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It's a sign of horseracing’s preparedness that we're the first major sport to return in Scotland as the recovery from Covid-19 continues

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