Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Nick Rust, has revealed that racing could resume within a week of being given the green light from the government.
No date has yet been confirmed for the return to racing, with the sport being on hold since 17 March. The BHA has been working to develop plans to resume the sport behind closed doors as part of a phased reintroduction once government approval has been given.
“We can be one of the first to go,” Rust told BBC Sport. “We don’t want to make the case ahead of public opinion. We’re saying we’re ready when you’re ready, when the public health advice is ready.
”The conditions are different in different places. People cite Hong Kong, that’s government-owned and all the horses are stabled right next to the racecourses. They’re able to make the case of continuing the economic activity. We have to try harder to make the case.
“But we don’t have Premier League footballers training for six weeks in our sport – our equine and human athletes are ready to go within a week to help bring live sport back.”
Racing has been targeting a May restart, however Rust has emphasised that the sport can only resume once ‘it’s safe to do so’.
“Our industry employs 20,000 people in rural economies, most of them just earning a basic living – of course we want some revenue to start flowing to make sure they’re looked after and they’re not a burden on the national purse,” he said.
“We have to keep working away with the government and try to ensure we can bring racing back when it’s safe to do so.
“Goodness knows how difficult it is to manage the curve whilst trying to balance the public and economic situation. I’m sure the Government’s advisors will look back and there are some areas they would have done differently but all we could do genuinely was to keep in touch with Government all the way.”