IJA Notice: Return to Racing Update

Dear IJA Member,

While, undoubtedly there is a growing sense of frustration at the loss of race meetings, early end to the national hunt season and delayed start to the flat season I just wanted to let you know that there is a lot of work being done in the background to have us ready to race once the green light is given by the government.

The updated situation is that HRI have been in constant discussions with The Department of Agriculture and other departments. As recently as last week further submissions were made to highlight that the racing industry can readily adapt to whatever the protocols might be put in place if permission is granted under the first wave of restrictions to be lifted after 5 th May. The fact that there are to be no mass gatherings over 5,000 people before 1 st September does not mean that we cannot return to racing behind closed doors. The ten meetings already held, illustrated very well that jockeys and other industry members can readily work within a restricted system.

Dr Pugh has been looking at additional protocols that might further highlight how the racecourse can be a safe environment and key to this is the provision of additional testing and a shorter turn around time for results. Also, the idea of riders providing weekly updates to the IHRB relating to their well being and the well being of those with whom they are in contact may be an additional protocol that would help. The introduction of compulsory masks and gloves for those in contact with riders in the parade ring or elsewhere on the race track is also being considered.

The government have confirmed that they will review restrictions in advance of 5 th May and HRI are pushing to have racing included in this first wave of industries/businesses to have these restrictions eased.

Dr Pugh has asked that all riders be mindful of restricting their riding out to one particular yard.

A significant number of members have availed of the Covid-19 Employment Payment and/or the income support scheme arranged through the IJA with Irish Injured Jockeys and Irish Jockeys Trust and should you require any assistance with these financial supports, we again attach contact details for:  


Darren Murtagh: 087 8863946 JP Wynne: 087 6398695

Michael Higgins: 086 2428014 Joe Kenny: 087 2846648


Kind regards,

Andrew Coonan


IJA Return to Racing Updated 24.04.2020