Update on resumption of racing planning

19 May 2020 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures Welfare

Update on resumption of racing planning

British racing continues to plan for resumption on Monday 1 June, in line with the UK Government’s provisional timetable for the return of sport behind closed doors.

To support this plan, we are today outlining some of the preparatory steps that we will need to work on together between now and 1 June to ensure that we are all ready, should the UK Government’s provisional timeline be met.

By publishing these steps, we aim to provide greater certainty for the industry on the publication of key information for behind closed doors racing, including new and revised processes and protocols, together with actions that will need to be completed by industry participants prior to racing resuming.

This preparatory work will ensure that we can safeguard our people’s health and wellbeing, and return to racing in a safe and appropriate manner.

All relevant details and guidance will be communicated to the industry in good time, to ensure that participants, staff and officials understand the requirements and how these will apply before, during and after a race meeting.

Key milestones

Friday 22 May – Publish fixture list and race programme, covering the period 9 – 30 June (inclusive).

  • Last week, the BHA produced the fixture list and race programme for the first 8 days of racing following resumption. The race conditions have been finalised and published on the BHA’s Racing Administration website.
    • As with all race planning at this point, the exact timetable will be based on our best-case scenario planning for resumption on 1 June.
    • Please note, 72-hour declarations will be in place for all races from 1 June until further notice.

No later than 26 May – Publish British Racing’s protocols for racing behind closed doors.

  • This is specific guidance for the racing industry to safeguard the health of employees and participants in a safe return to racing behind closed doors
  • The document will be aimed at everyone attending race meetings, and their employers, who will all need to be aware of and ensure compliance with the new and revised protocols
  • We will aim to publish this early next week. In the meantime, we will continue to provide regular updates to support industry preparation, as we have been doing throughout the resumption planning process. The protocols document will be a consolidation of all this information in one easily accessible place.
  • Speaking yesterday, the UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, mentioned horseracing in the context of behind closed doors sports planning; noting that the UK Government and Public Health England are working with racing and other sports to work out the safest possible way of proceeding

Immediate actions to support industry planning

The list below includes the actions that participants can complete immediately in preparation for racing on 1 June.

Further actions will be added to this list and communicated to the industry in good time so that you know what is required and when it needs to be completed.

Updating employee records – trainers

As the BHA will need to communicate with all individuals who are registered to attend a raceday, all trainers are asked to ensure that the stable employee records for any individual who is likely to attend a fixture are up to date. The key details to check are:

  • Full, correct name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact details (including mobile phone and email address for the individual)
  • Next of kin details
  • Ensure that the Racehorse Attendant Pass is in date

Uploading horse vaccination records to Weatherbys Vaccination App – trainers

Trainers (or another responsible person) are asked to upload the vaccination records of all horses declared to run to the Weatherbys Vaccination App. This should be completed for all horses declared to run from 1 June until further notice.

Storing the records electronically will remove the need for manual checking of vaccination records and prevent any administrative issues on the racecourse, thereby assisting with social distancing.

Once the vaccination history has been cleared by the BHA, all future and subsequent vaccinations between the pre-clearance and race day should be uploaded directly by those responsible for the horse onto the Weatherbys Vaccination App.

Trainers have been contacted directly with instructions about how to download, register with and use the Weatherbys Vaccination App. Any queries should be directed to Weatherbys on +44 (0)1933 440077 or [email protected].

Mandatory online education module – all racecourse attendees

An online education moduleCOVID-19 Information for participants of the racing industry – has has been developed and must be completed successfully by all attendees prior to their first attendance at a raceday from 1 June. Any person who has not completed the online module will not be granted access to the racecourse.

This course will provide attendees with a baseline understanding of COVID-19, social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, racecourse protocols and PPE requirements*.

The training module is available to complete now on the Racing2Learn website. To access the course please register on Racing2Learn, which is free to all users.

*Please note: the BHA is currently liaising with the NTF, PJA and NARS regarding protective equipment for jockeys and stable staff. We will update you accordingly when these plans are finalised.

Additional information to support industry planning

Government guidance – all racecourse attendees

The UK Government last week published a timeline for the potential resumption of sporting events in England, which outlined plans for sporting and cultural events to resume behind closed doors as part of the second step of lifting lockdown restrictions. This will take place from Monday 1 June at the earliest, but is subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time.

To help support racing’s resumption planning, we ask that everyone in the industry familiarises themselves with the latest government guidance, in particular the documents relating to:

Please note that government guidance in Scotland and Wales may differ from guidance in England.

The Welsh Government has also published its roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, with a ‘traffic light’ guide that includes team, individual and non contact sports and behind closed doors events in the ‘amber’ phase. The Scottish Government is due to unveil its plans on Thursday. Neither government has yet outlined a specific timeline for the return of sport behind closed doors; therefore, it is possible that circumstances and timescales may differ across the UK.

Racing industry leaders and the BHA Public Affairs Team are in direct contact with the Sport Ministers in Scotland and Wales around planning for a risk-managed resumption of racing as soon as possible.

Two-year-old eliminations scheme extended to include all trainers

In an update on Friday 15 May, details of a policy were published which has the intention of ensuring that the two-year-old races at Royal Ascot feature the best horses in order to support the quality of racing and protect the integrity of the two-year-old Pattern.

This policy is an unprecedented step on account of the unique set of circumstances this year and is intended to manage the demand for two-year-old runs in the first eight days following resumption. This policy has been extended to include all trainers, following discussions with the National Trainers Federation and the Racehorse Owners Association.

By this time of the year there would normally have been around 700 individual two-year-old performances. These performances would have helped determine the horses which would be of sufficient quality to compete at Royal Ascot. Bearing this in mind, a number of races have been programmed specifically for two-year-olds after resumption – and these races have been given priority to divide once or sometimes twice – but despite this it is anticipated that there will only be capacity for around half of that number of runners ahead of Royal Ascot.

In order to get into Ascot races, a previous run is likely to be necessary and the chances of getting one would normally be decided by random ballot.

Under the policy, trainers are being asked to identify specific horses that they would like to see given priority against elimination from any division of the currently programmed two-year-old races. The offering of priority from elimination is intended to help trainers with two-year-olds that they feel are Ascot prospects ensure that they have a chance to get into a race in the first eight days upon resumption, so as to potentially be able to go on to Ascot.

The number of horses that can be selected by any trainer is based on their previous record with two-year-olds in Open Maiden or Novice races as well as the number of runners that they have had in Royal Ascot two-year-old races in the last three years. The number of priority nominations resulting from this formula is relatively small per trainer, with 126 nominations spread across 50 trainers. This means that we would expect a further 225 places to be available in two-year-old races in the first eight days for horses that have not been prioritised by their trainers, and qualification for these places will be by random ballot.

Following further consultation with horsemen representatives it has now also been agreed that trainers that did not qualify for priority selections through this formula will be invited to make up to one selection should they feel that they have a horse that they consider to be an Ascot prospect.

All trainers are asked to manage their entries to limit demand for the initial two-year-old races where possible, for horses that they believe can wait until the second week of races. The programme will continue to offer opportunities for two-year olds in the second week alongside a ramp up of the number of three-year-old Novice and Maiden races.

Trainers will be contacted directly to let them know how they can submit a horse to be given priority against elimination in the first eight days. Any such submission must be made by 26 May, with the full list of submitted horses to be published on 27 May.

Health screening for attendees

All racecourse attendees will be required to undergo pre-entry health screening. Those who have not completed, or who do not pass, the necessary screening will be refused entry to the racecourse.

This screening is likely to consist of a pre-attendance questionnaire, which must be completed no more frequently than every 7 days, and health screening on arrival at the racecourse. We continue to liaise with Government to determine its requirements around laboratory testing, should it be required.

The exact health screening process is still in development and will be communicated to the industry as soon as it has been finalised. Please be assured that this will be shared in good time to ensure industry participants understand the requirements.

Personal Protective Equipment

Medical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is used to protect people from exposure to dangerous substances such as chemicals or from biological material such as body fluids, bacteria and viruses (for example Covid-19).

PPE comprises:

  • Face masks and respirators
  • Eye coverings (face shields and goggles)
  • Gloves
  • Body coverings (plastic aprons, isolation gowns and coveralls)
  • Foot coverings (shoe covers)

Whilst resumption planning is predicated on reducing the risk of exposure (in particular to Covid-19), there are a number of roles where risk reduction through social distancing is not always possible, and where people may come in to contact with others who may carry the virus.

The BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, has been working with his counterparts across major sports to develop a safety protocol for people in roles at greater risk of exposure. This guidance defines who must wear some protective equipment while at work.

This guidance has been shared with racecourses to support their operational planning, and Dr Hill is engaged in discussions with representatives of industry participants, including the NTF, PJA and NARS, to provide further clarification on protective equipment for jockeys and stable staff.

The outcome of these discussions will be communicated to the industry in good time to ensure the necessary procurement can be completed.