Beckett hopeful of swift return to racing

‘My personal view is that it is achievable’.

  • Saturday 28 March
  • News
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Classic-winning trainer Ralph Beckett is optimistic racing in Britain will be ready to resume behind closed doors on May 1, should it be given the go-ahead.

Beckett, who is National Trainers Federation (NTF) Flat committee chairman, believes providing correct measures are taken, Flat racing will be in a position to start again as soon as it is safe to do so.

A letter issued to stakeholders on Friday by the Resumption of Racing Group outlined plans for a phased return, most likely behind closed doors and starting with Flat racing only, reflecting the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively.

Racing in Britain was suspended by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on March 18 until the end of April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beckett said: “My personal view is that it is achievable and until we’re told we can’t – I’m hopeful.

“I can’t go into too much detail, but there is a fairly straightforward action plan and we just need to get the details right.

“They are performing statistical analysis into the racecourses which are furthest away from the epicentre and would therefore be the safest to race at and are less likely to put a strain on the NHS.”

Beckett believes with the Resumption of Racing Group, which is chaired by Brant Dunshea of the British Horseracing Authority, offering a possible date for racing to return, it will encourage owners to keep horses in training during the lockdown period.

He added: “If people can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, it is very difficult for them to pay for their horses in training.

“I feel it was important for people to know that there is a plan going on already, with that date in mind for a resumption of racing.

“The situation is changing all the time and who knows what will happen in three weeks, but from my point of view we will be racing.

“If it is handled in the right manner, which it should be, and we start racing on that date, then the Guineas won’t be missed and we can still get the majority of the programme in and done.”

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