Racing APPG: It was a ‘difficult but correct decision to suspend racing’

As the racing industry faces ‘extremely challenging and uncertain times ahead’, the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Racing and Bloodstock Industries has emphasised its support for the ‘difficult but correct decision to suspend racing’.

In a letter signed by the group’s co-chairs, Conor McGinn MP and Laurence Robertson MP, the APPG has urged the government to play a role in ‘securing the future and sustainability’ of the sport in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter stated: “These are unprecedented times that require the whole nation and government to work together to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

“In dealing with the economic crisis that accompanies it, much has rightly been made of the urgent need for the government to support the leisure, hospitality, entertainment and retail sectors, and protect jobs.

“We are clear that the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the horse racing and betting industries must represent a key part of that; from racecourses such as Cheltenham and Haydock in our constituencies, to training and breeding yards and jockeys, as well as bookmakers on high streets across the country. The financial security and jobs of the people who work in racing and all its component parts is paramount.

“As Joint Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Racing and Bloodstock, we supported the difficult but correct decision to suspend racing. It was the only reasonable course of action to take for the public good, in the national interest and to preserve the longer-term reputation and positive image of our sport.

“We are now calling on the Government to recognise racing’s responsible actions by playing its role in securing the future and sustainability of our great sport, which makes such a significant financial, cultural and social contribution to our country.

“We will now, as always, be fully behind racing in the extremely challenging and uncertain times ahead.”

Last week, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) revealed that racing would be suspended until the end of April, in line with guidance issued by the government.

The BHA, alongside the Racecourse Association (RCA), National Trainers Federation (NTF) and the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), has since emphasised that plans are being considered to resume racing at the earliest possible opportunity.