We broke out of our Sport for Business HQ earlier today to pick up a copy of the Racing Post which has decided to temporarily cease publication of its print edition during the current shutdown of sporting activity.
It ages me to think that this is the first time such action has had to be taken in the 34 year history of the paper which came to life in 1986 as a rival and eventual buyer of the Sporting Life newspaper.
There has always been a strong Irish connection through the editorship and then managerial expertise of Alan Byrne who cut his teeth in Dublin on the Sunday Tribune and the Post has been home to some fine journalists down the years.
If that sounds like an obituary, it is not meant to be as the Racing post will continue to operate an online edition and is planned to return to the streets as soon as a racing and sporting programme resumes.
Editor Tom Kerr outlined in a letter to readers why they were having to take this course of action. It is perhaps a way of expressing the challenges of the modern media age that will resonate clearly in the offices of many newspapers over the coming weeks as the restriction on movement, the desire to go into physical shops and the increased shift towards online become more prevalent.
It is with great sadness I must announce that following Thursday’s edition the Racing Post will be temporarily suspending publication. Unfortunately, with racing in Britain and Ireland halted, betting shops closed, and our governments urging everyone to stay at home as much as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we have been left with no other choice.
Recent events have had an unfathomable impact on our world. We have seen harrowing pictures of overcrowded hospitals and overwhelmed medical professionals in other countries, and in Britain and Ireland we are bracing ourselves for similar scenes while hoping the extensive measures announced thus far will forestall them.
Sport and betting pale into insignificance when weighed against such terrible events, but we hope in these difficult last two weeks we have provided our readers with the information they need to understand what is happening, and some welcome distraction from the unrelenting news about Covid-19’s spread. In particular, I hope we have helped keep those employed in racing and facing difficult financial times ahead informed about the support available to them.
I am also incredibly proud of the work done by the Racing Post team during this crisis. From dozens of makeshift home offices, they have produced every word on every page you have read over recent days. Sadly, some of our team are being temporarily stood down, utilising the job retention scheme announced by the government, until the paper returns.
I know many of you will share our enormous disappointment that this is the last edition of the Racing Post for a while. However, we will continue to publish on racingpost.com and on the Racing Post mobile app, ensuring that racing professionals, punters and fans of the sport are informed and entertained for however long this shutdown might last. Racing might be suspended, but we know your passion for the sport and need for accurate information continues. We’re still here to serve you.
At some point in the coming weeks or months, when the worst of this disease has passed, horseracing will resume. When racing is back, the Racing Post newspaper will be back as well, filled with all the wit, wisdom, data and analysis that you expect from us.
It is important in these dark days to remember that better times will come again. In Thursday’s edition, our writers have picked out the stars of the sport who will keep them looking forward in the weeks to come. We can’t wait to see them, and we can’t wait to see you again too.
In the meantime, I wish all our readers the very best. Please do continue to join us online, but above all: stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.
With best wishes,
Well said Tom and the very same sentiment back to all the great staff that work on the paper. Stay safe and remain confident that we will come through this.
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