While sports across Dublin have been struggling with a tightening of Covid restrictions since Friday night, in Horse Racing today sees an important step forward with the return of owners to racecourses.

The first fixtures to welcome two owners per horse are Fairyhouse and the week-long Listowel Festival in Kerry.  Listowel will be covered on TG4.

The Government guidelines published as part of the medium-term plan for living with Covid-19 now permit racing and other outdoor events to have a limited number of spectators on the racecourse in addition to those necessary to stage the event.

With owners a stated priority for HRI, the decision has been taken to allow two people per owner to attend from this week. Pre-meeting health screening and temperature checking will be required.

“We are delighted to confirm that for the first time since March 13, owners are now permitted to return to the racecourse,” said Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh.

“Owners play the most important role in Irish racing and they have had to wait quite some time to return to the racecourse to see their horses run. We have always said that getting owners back on the racecourse was our first priority and we have been working closely on this with the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners and their representative Caren Walsh.”

“As all key personnel who have been racing behind closed doors since June 8 will testify, these are not race fixtures as we used to know them, and given the ongoing public health risk, it remains as important now as it ever has been, that all those attending racecourses adhere strictly to the race day protocols.

“Since we resumed racing in Ireland, the level of care and compliance with the Covid-19 protocols has been excellent and it is vital that everybody continues to comply with the rules on the racecourse around pre-health screening, social distancing and the wearing of face masks or coverings at all times.”