Market Rasen Racecourse faces shutdown until the end of April

Market Rasen Racecourse has cancelled all of its upcoming April meetings after the British Horseracing Authority suspended racing until the end of April.

A crowded Market Rasen Racecouse on Boxing Day. Picture: Steven Cargill / EMN-200323-123910002
A crowded Market Rasen Racecouse on Boxing Day. Picture: Steven Cargill / EMN-200323-123910002

The BHA had initially ruled meetings would go ahead behind closed doors, a day after Market Rasen’s last meeting - the County Raceday on Sunday, March 15.

But following further updates and advice, it was decided to halt all meetings in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Market Rasen Racecourse continues to sell tickets for meetings from May, including marquee events such as the Summer Plate Ladies Day in July, and Jockey Club Live with McFly the following month.

But the Jockey Club offers a full refund policy if the suspension is extended and any events are cancelled.

Nick Rust, chief executive of the BHA, said: “We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry.

“But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government’s latest advice.

“Racing is a family and I know we will pull together over the coming days, weeks and months and support each other.

“By stopping racing, we can free up medical resources, doctors and ambulances, be they private sector or NHS, to assist in the national effort to fight this virus.

“And we can support racing industry participants and staff as they face up to the personal challenges ahead and care for their own families.

“We need to focus now on ensuring that we can continue to look after our horses as the virus affects the thousands of participants and staff who dedicate their lives to caring for animals.

“We need to do what we can to support businesses inside and outside racing and the many people whose livelihoods depend upon this £4 billion industry.

“We are in constant contact with government which understands the very significant consequences of this decision for jobs and businesses.

“We will work with them to do our best to manage the impact.

“Racing leaders will keep today’s decision under constant review and endeavour to keep all customers, participants, staff and dependent businesses informed as the situation progresses.”