Henderson in agreement with BHA decision on jumps suspension

‘The Flat boys need to get the show on the road at the most appropriate opportunity’.

  • Thursday 02 April
  • News
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Nicky Henderson has backed the decision of the British Horseracing Authority to keep jumps racing on hold until July.

The BHA has already said the Resumption of Racing Group is working on detailed proposals for a resumption of racing from May 1, should that be possible, with fixtures to be held on the Flat and behind closed doors to minimise demands on emergency services.

The last meetings held in Britain before the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic were at Taunton and Wetherby on March 17.

The Seven Barrows trainer – whose winners at Cheltenham this year included Epatante in the Champion Hurdle – said in his Unibet blog: “I would like to applaud the BHA for their announcement that jump racing won’t resume until July 1. I think this is a very good call and the correct decision because at least we all know where we stand.

“We have all been talking about it amongst ourselves, but from a National Hunt point of view we can all make plans for the future and it makes a lot of sense to wait until we are over the worse of this pandemic.

“Most of our horses have been kept ticking over and I was holding on to a few in case Punchestown was going to happen, but that’s now off so it was important to know that we aren’t going to race and this helps us so we know what to do with all the horses and can start winding them all down and roughing them off.

“Many of them can now go home and once it warms up a bit, and we get some decent spring weather, a lot of them can be turned out in the fields to get the best of the lush spring grass and then maybe we can crack on with them a little bit earlier than usual and think about starting again in July.

“We’ve got about 15 to run throughout the summer, including Brain Power who we hope to take back to America, and hopefully there will be a few for Market Rasen’s big meeting as well.”

He added: “We’ve had 75 per cent of our season and have only really missed out on Aintree and Sandown, where it would have been nice to end with a bit of a party, but that’s completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things and I totally appreciate that Flat racing must start as soon as it’s deemed feasible to do so.

“It really is important for everyone as it’s still very much up in the air, but if it has to go on behind closed doors to take the pressure off the emergency services that would clearly be better than having no racing at all and at the moment my only concern is for the Flat boys who need to get the show on the road at the most appropriate opportunity.”

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