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Coronavirus: Horse racing in the UK suspended until end of April

Al Boum Photo won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last weekAll horse racing in Great Britain will be suspended from Wednesday until the end of April because of the coronavirus outbreak.On Monday, it was announced that racing would continue behind closed doors, although the Grand National meeting was cancelled.Tuesday’s meetings at Wetherby and Taunton go…

Cheltenham

Al Boum Photo won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last week

All horse racing in Great Britain will be suspended from Wednesday until the end of April because of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday, it was announced that racing would continue behind closed doors, although the Grand National meeting was cancelled.

Tuesday’s meetings at Wetherby and Taunton go ahead without spectators.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said the decision will be kept under “constant review”.

Nick Rust, the chief executive of the BHA, said: “This is a national emergency the like of which most of us have never seen before.

“We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry. But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government’s latest advice.”

Analysis

BBC Sport’s Frank Keogh

After last week’s Cheltenham Festival went ahead with 250,000 spectators, British horse racing had continued but with meetings going ahead behind closed doors this week.

Next month’s Grand National was cancelled on Monday evening and racing’s steering group had been in talks about what to do next.

It means Tuesday’s fixtures at Taunton and Wetherby, without spectators, will be the last to be held in Britain for at least six weeks.

Irish racing continues for now, behind closed doors, although this latest development will raise fresh question marks over next month’s Irish Grand National and the Punchestown Festival, which is due to start later in the month.

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