Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer at the British Horseracing Authority, has expressed his confidence that racing will be able to resume in Britain on June 1.
Racing was last staged on March 17 and the Government announced earlier this month that no professional sport, even behind closed doors, would take place before June 1 at the earliest.
The BHA on Saturday published its protocols for resuming behind closed doors at Newcastle on that date, and Dunshea said it had been recognised that racing differed in its make-up from sports such as football and rugby.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden suggested at the beginning of the week a return for top-flight football could be “mid-June at the earliest”, but Dunshea told Sky Sports Racing: “What is important to note is that in all our engagement with Government it has been recognised at numerous levels of Government that racing is different to other elite sports.
“We are largely rural based, our training and competition happen in an outdoor environment and social distancing can be much more easily maintained than in human contact sports, like for example football and rugby. Government have recognised to us in our dialogue that we are different, that we are definitely positioned in a different way to other sports.”
He went on: “We’re working based on the assumption June 1 will be our start date. Of course, that is all contingent on Government taking the decision to transition to the next phase of their easing of the lockdown measures.
“That is out of our control, but at this point we are very positive of the notion of us commencing on June 1 and planning accordingly. Entries will be taken this week and that (June 1) is the working assumption.
“We are constantly engaging with Government on a daily basis on a number of levels and at this stage we’ve had no indication to suggest our planning is not consistent with what we expect to happen.
“It’s all linked to that decision making, but we can’t make those decisions – we can simply plan based on the information we have available to us. We are also very much awaiting publication of Government’s step three guidance in relation to elite sport behind closed doors.
“That will be published we believe this week and that will finalise any operating plans. For example the document we published on Saturday, we may need to make some adjustments to that once we finalise Government guidance.”
Dunshea added on Racing TV: “What I will say is I’m incredibly confident that we will be racing on June 1. We can’t control what decisions Government make, but we are incredibly confident.
“We are working hard and planning towards June 1 being our resumption date and we are all very excited about that.”