Hamilton Park preparing for return of horse racing

Horse racing is due to return to Scotland later this month.

Hamilton Park preparing for return of horse racing SNS

Scottish racing is aiming to return behind closed doors later this month if the government confirms the country can enter Phase 2 of the route map out of lockdown next week.

The first meeting is due to be at Ayr racecourse on June 22 before a fixture at Hamilton Park two days later.

The racing season at the Lanarkshire course was due to get underway on May 2 but was delayed because of the coronavirus crisis.

The team at Hamilton Park are now working around the clock in preparation for the return of racing in two weeks time.

Vivien Currie, Hamilton Park chief executive, told STV Sport about the challenges the pandemic has brought to the racing world.

She said: “It’s had an enormous impact, I won’t underestimate that.

“Every business in the world is really facing this and we’re no different. Predominantly because our business is in the summer.

“We do have weddings and events all year round, but the lion’s share of our revenue, and consequently our profits, are made over the 18 meetings we have in the summer, that allows us to sustain the business all year round.

“We’re now getting the chance to stage 9 fixtures behind closed doors. It’s not just the fact that there are fewer of them,  but we’re not welcoming any members of the public so  revenues from that have completely disappeared.”

In order for racing to return to the course, everyone involved must adhere to strict protocols on social distancing and medical checks.

And Ms Currie admits that has been a challenge to set up.

She said: “The biggest challenge has really been trying to put in new protocols and one way systems everywhere, marking out two metre distances so we can all social distance and hopefully ensuring that all the staff are familiar with that and any of the jockeys and trainers that come to visit know the procedures that we’re putting in place.

“There are a lot of things that we take for granted that we do every day in a race meeting.

“Jockeys would pass each other in the parade ring regularly they would talk to trainers close together getting their riding instructions before the race goes off, now they’re doing that at two metre distance, so whether they want to shout across the parade ring what their tactics are or not, we’ll wait and see.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code