Saturday 28 March

Yesterday evening the BHA made an announcement regarding the resumption of racing. It offers us a little hope in these testing times. I have copied and pasted it below for all to see. Plans for the resumption of racing from 1st May 2020 The BHA has written to the NTF and other stakeholders today with an update on the planning in relation to the resumption of racing. The focus of this planning is on the conditions that would need to be met in order to ensure resumption of racing at the earliest opportunity. This involves operational planning on the racecourse, the ability of horsemen to service fixtures, the scheduling and rescheduling of appropriate fixtures and races, as well as the need to ensure that regulatory requirements can be met so that racing can take place safely. All of this has been brought together into a single Resumption of Racing workstream. Brant Dunshea is leading the group, with the support of Richard Wayman and other BHA executives as required. Caroline Davies and Andy Clifton will represent the RCA. Horsemen will be represented by Ralph Beckett and Seamus Mullins from the NTF, and Charlie Parker for the ROA. Tom Byrne from the Levy Board is also a member of the Group. The group anticipates that the initial return to racing is likely to be phased and almost certainly behind closed doors. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively. The BHA wants to assure you that its main priority is to be ready for a resumption of racing as quickly as possible. The current suspension of racing runs until the end of April and the Group is planning for a resumption from 1 May. A return to racing is expected to begin, at least initially, with Flat racing, principally for reasons of safety and to minimise demands on emergency services. While every effort will be made to subsequently resume Jumping at the earliest opportunity, possibly with the scheduling of some Jumpers’ Bumpers cards, it may assist Jumps trainers to judge whether horses can/should be turned out or kept in training. The priorities of the Group are: To develop a resumption plan that appropriately reflects government advice in place at the time, offering a range of options that can be adapted as required. To coordinate detailed operational planning. To maintain the resilience of regulatory services. To ensure that an appropriate fixture and race programme is in place. To liaise with the betting industry and ensure they are engaged around the revised fixture programme. To ensure that the needs of broadcasters are recognised at an industry level and can be factored into the redesign of the racing programme. To ensure racing’s administrative systems and processes can resume racing at the earliest possible opportunity. To engage the HBLB around the fixture programme to identify prize money requirements. The group is focused on innovation and creativity and is considering all options that could be implemented quickly under a range of possible scenarios. A small light at the end of the tunnel maybe? This week we got to say hello to Frank. Frank is the third foal out of Savingforvegas, who many will remember running for Ben Turner a few years ago. Vegas was the winner of her point to point, a bumper and a hurdle in a short career that was sadly ended by injury. She is the half sister to Cheltenham Festival winner Rathvinden, and has proved to be a great broodmare, producing 3 bay colts in 4 years. I purchased her after she had had her first ( by Blue Bresil), and last year she gave us a bonny colt by Doyen (Dean). Frank is also by Blue Bresil, and is a cracking foal. He and his mum are doing great, and will travel over to Ireland in the next week or two, probably to visit Blue Bresil again - he has done us no harm so far! On a more sombre note - many of you will have known our sweet little lurcher, Tiger Lily from your visits to Fences Farm. Sadly yesterday we had to say goodbye to her. She made it to the grand old age of 18, and had had a wonderful innings, and given us some fabulous memories. She came to us at 6, and we had 12 fantastic years with her. I should think she spent all bar a handful of days of those 12 years with me so she is, and will continue to be very sadly missed. They say dogs are a mans best friend - well she certainly was that to me. RIP Tiger Lil.

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