Ruby Walsh: Irish racing is ready to restart as soon as the government allows it

Ruby explained how Ireland are ahead of the game on the latest episode of Paddy Power's From The Horse's Mouth podcast



In Ireland, 5th May is the deadline for whether racing restrictions will be changed or not and the talk is that racing would be ready to come back at 10 days’ notice.

Personally I would say that 10 days is at the most, but we could be ready even sooner if that was allowed.

Irish racing will do whatever the government suggests it should do, but it has the framework in place to run behind closed doors.

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It’s already had 10 meetings behind closed doors and it knows exactly what it has to do to run them. It knows what’s required so as soon as the government are happy to allow racing to recommence, it will. We’re ready to do it.

With the experience it gained before the lockdown in knowing how many people you could cut out, and getting it right down to the bare essentials at meetings, with the minimum amount of people required, Irish racing is in a good place to restart whenever the government sees fit.

The BHA (British Horseracing Authority) have suggested capping runners to 12 per race, with a preference towards using senior jockeys to minimise risk of injury, and I think that’s a good idea in the beginning.

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It would definitely make social distancing easier but I would be interested to know how they categorise senior riders. Is that just taking apprentices out of the equation, or will it be done on age or the amount of rides you’ve had?

Last week I said that getting a decision to return to racing in the UK is going to be harder than it is everywhere else. In Ireland we have HRI (Horse Racing Ireland), and whatever they decide people will go by.

I think the UK could be quite a bit behind the rest of the world in regards to getting back to racing.

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What do you think?