Owners set to attend Epsom Derby and Oaks in latest BHA plan

Owners are set to be allowed to watch their horses compete on Epsom Derby day after coronavirus rules were eased.

The British Horseracing Authority plans to pilot new protocols at Southwell and Kempton on Wednesday, ahead of a scheduled wider rollout on Saturday.

It is good news for connections with runners in the Investec Oaks and Derby, as it will be the first time they are able to watch the action from Epsom this Flat season.

All UK fixtures have been held behind closed doors since June 1.

The BHA said the phased return will be limited to two owners per horse in the early stages and tracks are to implement dedicated ‘owner zones' in line with government guidance.

The plans were agreed with the Racecourse Association (RCA) and Racehorse Owners Association (ROA).

BHA chief medical adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, said: “As with our wider approach to resumption, the return of owners is predicated on a phased, risk-managed plan, which establishes infection control protocols that are essential for the safe continuation of racing during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

“These include pre-entry screening for owners and segregated areas to facilitate social distancing at no closer than two metres – measures that prioritise the safety of our attendees, are consistent with government guidance for elite sports fixtures behind closed doors, and are supported by the UK Government.”

Owners wishing to attend meetings are required to pre-register using the RCA’s Privilege Access Swipe System (PASS).

A health screening process, which includes the BHA’s COVID-19 online learning module and a health assessment, will be followed by a temperature check on arrival.

Owners are asked to arrive no earlier than 45 minutes before their first horse is due to run and leave the racecourse within one hour following the final race in which they have a confirmed runner.

RCA Chief Executive, David Armstrong, said: "We are delighted to be able to welcome back owners to the racecourse, albeit in limited numbers for now.

"Owners are critical to our sport and their patience and support during lockdown has been vital.

"The special measures that are set out in the new protocols should enable owners to enjoy the racing experience again but to do so in a safe and responsible fashion."

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