Irish officials have announced 53 Flat meetings up to the end of July, as they seek to satisfy the “large demand” for racing.
As part of plans unveiled by Horse Racing Ireland, the country’s major summer festivals, including at Galway and Killarney, have been restructured to ensure as many of the planned races as possible can take place, but still complying with the new social distancing guidelines.
There will be no mixed Flat and Jumps cards in June and July but the Galway Festival, which will still get underway on Monday July 27, will start with two Flat-only cards, then three National Hunt fixtures before the being rounded off by two all-Flat meetings.
The Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle have been confirmed for Wednesday July 29 and Thursday 30 as planned. Meanwhile, the usual five-day Killarney festival has been rescheduled to three stand-alone days on July 7, 13 and 15, as part of the new summer fixture list.
HRI’s director of racing Jason Morris said: “We recognise that there will be a large demand for opportunities to run and our aim is to provide all Flat horses with their first run as quickly as possible following the resumption of racing by offering a balanced programme across all age groups, distances and categories.
“There will be 53 Flat meetings up to the end of July with this objective in mind.”
He added: “There will also be 22 National Hunt fixtures programmed between June 22 and the end of July, compared to the equivalent of 17 meetings in the same period last year, to cater for the demands of the jumps horse population.
“There will be eight-race cards run at every opportunity where stable capacity allows, with the protocols requiring one stable per horse for hygiene reasons.”
Irish racing will resume on June 8.