BHA still targeting May return as planned restrictions revealed

Resuming horse racing fixtures next month remains the target, trainers have been told by the sport's ruling body.

An email on Wednesday to around 600 licence holders in the UK detailed restrictions planned for the restart.

Races will be scheduled with a maximum of 12 runners per race, contested by senior jockeys only.

Both measures are being brought in to reduce the potential risk of putting extra pressure on NHS resources.

A new fixture list is set to be released in the next fortnight, with plans to reschedule lost Pattern and Listed events from early spring to the second half of next month.

Due to each race having less competitors, the number on each card will be increased if the demand is there.

The BHA said: “This is based on risk modelling, which indicates that field sizes of 12 or fewer reduces the risk to participants on the track and assists with social distancing requirements at the racecourse.

"We have taken in a similar risk mitigation approach in relation to jockeys. Consequently, only the more senior jockeys will be able to ride under initial plans. This will be reviewed continually.

“We recognise (field-size restrictions) will increase competition for places, so we plan to extend the number of races on a card including by staging more divisions.

"Even though we intend to provide a balanced programme, it is likely that due to competition for places, some horses, particularly those that are lower rated, may find it difficult to get a run in the early stages of resumption.”

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