Racing is set to resume under strict protocols and behind closed doors in Ireland on June 8.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said last week that racing, as a spectator-free sport, would fall into the third phase of the Irish Government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions, meaning a June 29 restart looked likely.
However, Horse Racing Ireland had been consulting with the Irish Government on the possibility of an earlier return, with chief executive Brian Kavanagh underlining the fact racing was staged without spectators before it shut down in March.
Those consultations appear to have paid dividends with Peter Burke, Fine Gael TD for the Longford–Westmeath constituency in the Dail, announcing the resumption of the sport would now fall in the second phase of the plan.
He tweeted: “Horse Racing to return behind closed doors with strict protocols from June 8th. Much needed certainty for the sector.”
Prior to racing being suspended in March, a total of 10 fixtures in Ireland were held behind closed doors, the last of them at Clonmel on March 24.