COVID-19 Could Cost British Racing £193m

British racing has estimated that if the sport is shut down before July it will face revenue losses of £193 million, a letter from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) shows.

As reported in the Racing Post, a letter from the BHA to trainers revealed that as part of a “industry-wide lobbying effort that is aiming to gain political backing for the financial support package,” the sporting authority requested assistance.

The projected loss represents approximately 13 percent of the annual income from the sport, which may result in ‘significant economic and social hardship’ for the sport.

Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the BHA announced the cancellation of racing fixtures in March, with the closure scheduled to continue until the end of April.

With reports that racing could be postponed before the end of June, 471 fixtures, of which 25 days are festivals, would have been cancelled in that period.

Emma Lavelle, president of the Association of National Trainers said: “It’s big figures and, quite simply, the sooner we start racing then that’s when we can start to generate revenue for everybody.

“It’s going to have to be clear from the government what is acceptable. That’s the key thing, but that’s only going to happen when the situation with coronavirus is on a better footing than it is at the moment.

“It’ll be massive that we will come together. All of us want to get going, as and when it is safe to do so. What’s happened is tough on racecourses, trainers, owners, stable staff and the country as a whole – we’re in this together. We need to be ready to go so that we can put something positive on when we can.

“We should be approaching the councils to make sure we put in and ask for all the benefits that are out there for us. There’s a lot happening and I think we have to be measured to what we’re asking for, so we make sure we put our case across but that we are keeping in mind the bigger picture.

“We want to preserve the sport for all of our members, whether they’re big, middle-sized or small. There’s the horses too, we need to remember that the welfare of horses are paramount and that the finances are there to do that.”