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The Irish National Hunt season has officially come to a close following the suspension of racing and announcement the Fairyhouse and Punchestown Festivals will not be rescheduled.

The government in Ireland last month cancelled all sporting events because of the coronavirus outbreak, including those behind closed doors, until at least April 19. A number of meetings had taken place behind closed doors in Ireland until then.

At a meeting of the HRI board on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT), a strategy was discussed that would allow Irish racing to return as quickly as possible once it is appropriate to do so and within government guidelines.

The board said it recognised that, at least initially, racing would restart on the Flat with adherence to strict social distancing protocols as were successfully operated at 10 race fixtures in March.

“We have stressed throughout that government and HSE guidelines around fighting Covid-19 must come first and racing will only be able to resume when the government guidelines permit and when there is adequate medical cover in place to ensure that race meetings can be staged safely,” Nicky Hartery, chairman of HRI, said.

“No-one can predict when this point will be reached.

“What the board agreed today was a plan to get back racing once those guidelines allow.”

 
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