Scottish racing was given the green light to restart behind closed doors from June 22 after the country’s government announced that professional sport would restart in line with its Covid-19 route map’s transfer to Phase 2.
Following an announcement by Scottish Racing and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), sport must meet specific guidelines for health and safety, including physical distance standards, medical screening procedures and a variety of steps to minimise the risk of using NHS services.
In a statement Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport & Wellbeing, said: “I’m sure that this news will be welcomed by racing fans across the country. The resumption of professional sports is another step towards some level of normality and its safe resumption is only possible thanks to a constructive relationship between the Scottish Government and bodies like Scottish Racing.”
Horseracing is the second most frequented sport in Scotland per year, supporting 3,400 full-time equivalent jobs and generating more than £ 300 million annually for the Scottish economy.
BHA chief executive Nick Rust added: “I am very pleased that Scottish racing is returning safely from next Monday at Ayr racecourse, ensuring that our truly nationwide sport can resume in line with the protocols which have been working well since our resumption at Newcastle on 1 June.
“It is a sign of horseracing’s preparedness that we are the first major sport to return in Scotland as the recovery from Covid-19 continues. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Scottish Government in enabling this risk-managed return.”
Scottish Racing manager Delly Innes has concluded: “We are delighted to welcome the return of racing in Scotland after a long, but necessary, absence as Scotland faced the challenges of Covid-19. This has been an immensely challenging time for our five excellent racecourses, but this is an important first step on the road to recovery, and we will be working hard to ensure all our participants are familiar with, and adhere to Scottish rules and guidance where these differ from UK guidance.
“We are raring to go with an exciting programme of fixtures in the months ahead which will help support the wider Scottish and British racing industry, and provide entertainment to viewers across the country.”