48 hour decs to return as quickly as possible

Royal Dornoch beats Kameko

While normality is still only a distant dream for most of us, the BHA have planned their first step back. The 72-hour declarations for the racing this week will be back to the normal 48 “as quickly as possible.”

Realistically this is still at least a week off but is the first step on the road back towards horse racing as we know it. The added day was a precautionary measure given the logistical challenges of getting racing back on behind closed doors.

Brant Dunshea, the chief regulatory officer of the BHA hoped to get 48-hour declarations “within the next week or so.” This may come as a disappointment to some punters who have had added time to study the form. The big advantage of the change back is to “reduce the risk of non-runners.”

Limits on runners per contest and no five or seven-pound claimers being able to ride will be looked at on a week to week basis. Horse racing is already at step 3 of the 5 step plan laid out to path the way to “the resumption of sport to full, open, international competition with crowds.”

Future plans

It will still be some time before the public are allowed back to the track. September has been mooted in some circles as a potential start date. It will depend on how the country continues to deal with the fallout of Covid-19. A second spike would set plans back considerably with Dunshea saying that racing is waiting for “the government to be comfortable it is the right time before we move beyond that to the next phase.” 

For now, racing is on behind closed doors but with both the horses and dogs leading the way into phase 3. Hopes have to be high that our sport will once more be the first to welcome back crowds when the time is considered right.

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