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Where is racing still happening and when could countries start up again?

Racing in France could return next month
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With the coronavirus having spread to every corner of the globe racing has been disrupted in all major jurisdictions. We outline the state of play for horseracing in each country and what plans are in place for a return . . .


Racing suspended since March 18

Initial hopes were for a resumption at the start of May following a suspension imposed on March 18, two days after the Cheltenham Festival ended, but on April 15 the BHA extended the suspension, with no date set for the sport's return.

On April 16, government announced a three-week extension to lockdown, lasting until at least May 7.

While a return later in May could yet happen, it would be behind closed doors, with that restriction in place until at least June. 

BHA chief executive Nick Rust insists racing in Britain will return as soon as it is possible to do so, with a "range of options" being considered.

Those options potentially include racing hubs with on-site hotels holding multiple fixtures behind closed doors. Newcastle, Lingfield and Hamilton have been mooted as tracks under consideration.


Racing suspended since March 24

Like in Britain, there was some hope racing could return sooner rather than later, with lockdown initially lasting until April 19.

But on April 10, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed an extension of the lockdown until May 5.


Racing suspended in some countries

The situation in mainland Europe could look markedly different from Britain and Ireland by the start of May, with multiple countries gearing up for a return to racing.

Germany's racing authorities submitted a plan to government laying out a reduced programme, beginning on May 1. The six-week programme would carry Pattern races, but with fixtures taking place behind closed doors, prize-money will be halved. A decision on this proposal is expected from government this week.

A similar approach has been taken by France Galop, with lockdown in place until at least May 4. The French racing authority has submitted a revised timetable to government, though there are suggestions May 11 may be a more feasible starting point. 


Racing continuing behind closed doors

Sweden is the only country in Europe not to issue any lockdown measures in a bid to tackle the coronavirus. The country has been taking a radical approach by putting trust in the public to do the right thing, with bars, restaurants and shops remaining open. Racing continues behind closed doors.


Racing continues behind closed doors at some tracks

Many tracks in the US have taken the decision to close but this has not been enforced by the government. The tracks still racing are doing so behind closed doors and include Fonner Park, Gulfstream, Los Alamitos (quarter horses), Remington Park (QHs), Tampa Bay and Will Rogers. 

Racing is run on a state-by-state basis, so for example, Gulfstream and Tampa Bay are going ahead under the advice from Florida state, while Santa Anita was cancelled on March 27 under the advice from California.

South Africa

Racing suspended on March 24

South Africa's racing authorities are targeting a May 1 resumption, subject to lockdown being lifted by then.

Some of the main highlights of the programme will be moved back around a month, including the Durban July and South African Derby, should racing be able to start next month.


Racing suspended on March 22

The remainder of the 2019-20 season was postponed by the Emirates Racing Authority in March. While the season was only due to run until April 10, the big loss to the international racing calendar was the cancellation of Dubai World Cup night on March 28.

Hong Kong

Racing continues behind closed doors

Racing continues behind closed doors with meetings at Happy Valley and Sha Tin taking place on a regular basis. On April 26 the track is scheduled to host the Group 1 QEII Stakes, Chairman's Sprint Prize and Champions Mile - three of its most valuable races of the year.


Racing going ahead behind closed doors

Japan became one of the first major racing nations to host meetings behind closed doors, making the decision back on February 27, and has been operating under those restrictions since then. 

However, on April 16 a nationwide state of emergency was declared, with infections rising in the country. The state of emergency will remain in place until at least May 6.

How this could impact upon racing remains to be seen, with the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) and Nakayama Grand Jump due to take place this weekend.


Racing suspended on April 4

Racing was continuing behind closed doors, but after the Singapore government issued stricter laws on April 3, it was announced the following day racing was to be suspended until May 4.


Racing continues behind closed doors in majority of states

Some racing is still taking place behind closed doors at some tracks with the sport closely following guidelines set out by the government and health authorities. The sport's governing bodies are state-based, so racing is dependent on state laws. 

Racing has continued in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, with meetings at Caulfield and Randwick taking place earlier in the month as planned.

This weekend meetings at Morphettville and Randwick are scheduled.

Read more of our Lockdown Guides:

Part two: more stunning racecourses you must visit when we're free to travel again

Part one: the racecourses you must visit when we're free to travel again

Epic moments: relive some of the great performances over jumps and on the Flat

'Jilly Cooper this ain't' – must-read novels and betting books from our writers

Digital delights: the best clips, shows and documentaries to enjoy on YouTube

From Sir Anthony McCoy to Phar Lap: must-see films and documentaries

Non-fiction reads: From Barney Curley to the greatest footballer never seen

What to do in lockdown: our top tipsters on how to hone your skills

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The six-week programme would carry Pattern races, but with fixtures taking place behind closed doors, prize-money will be halved
E.W. Terms