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Coronavirus: Fixtures at Southwell Racecourse cancelled until end of April over pandemic fears

Fixtures have been cancelled at Southwell Racecourse until the end of April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The racecourse had earlier decided to hold races, but not in front of spectators, until the end of March.

It has now cancelled fixtures for the remainder of this month and all of next month.

Southwell Racecourse (31815565)
Southwell Racecourse (31815565)

The decisions have been made following announcements on Tuesday from the British Horseracing Authority and Arena Racing Company, which owns the Southwell course.

Saturday's floodlit fixture at the racecourse, Irish Night, was due to attract about 1,500 people for Irish food, drink and dancing.

The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed that all horseracing in Britain will be suspended with effect from tomorrow. The decision will be kept under constant review.

The authority's chief executive, Nick Rust, said: “This is a national emergency, the like of which most of us have never seen before.

"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.

"There will be difficult months ahead for many of us. 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.

"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."

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