Beckett believes racing can work to return

By: Graham Clark Sunday 29 March 2020

English trainer Ralph Beckett believes racing in Britain will be ready to resume behind closed doors should it be given the go-ahead.

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

A letter was sent to stakeholders on Friday by the Resumption of Racing Group outlining plans for a phased return, most likely behind closed doors and starting with Flat racing only, from May 1.

The plan says 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 on March 18 until the end of April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"My personal view is that it is achievable and until we're told we can't - I'm hopeful," Beckett said.

"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 offering a possible date for racing to return, it will encourage owners to keep horses in training during the lockdown period.

"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," he said.

"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 program in and done."