Irish racing cancelled to tackle pandemic outbreak

The Irish Flat season got underway at Naas on Monday afternoon.
The Irish Flat season got underway at Naas on Monday afternoon.

Irish Racing has been suspended until April 19 at the very earliest, as the country’s leader Leo Varadkar announced stricter measures to combat the outbreak of Covid-19 Coronavirus on Tuesday evening. 

The sport had been continuing behind closed doors since March 13, offering some much-needed relief to the industry in process, but the latest announcement from the Taoiseach has seen all sporting events in the country cancelled - along with a range of other tougher measures. 

The announcement came while Clonmel’s seven-race card was still taking place on Tuesday, and in the knowledge that it would be the last race in the UK or Ireland for quite some time, punters piled into the closing bumper on the card (Clonmel 17:00), with over £1 million being matched on the race in total on the Betfair Exchange.

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It means that Ireland’s new Flat season will come to an immediate halt having gotten underway at Naas on Monday afternoon, and Wednesday’s fixture at Dundalk will not go ahead as planned.

Looking further ahead, it also means that the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse will also fall victim on Easter Monday (April 13) - unless organisers try to postpone it - while the Punchestown Festival at the end of April is also in serious doubt. 

Ireland joins the UK in cancelling all racing, and it means that we’re left with only a limited offering of the sport from around the world. 

Wednesday’s meetings at Fairview (South Africa) and Happy Valley (Hong Kong) are still set to go ahead as planned, and you can keep up with all of the action courtesy of our daily World Racing Guide, which you can find in our News section

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