Cheltenham Festival set to go ahead as planned despite coronavirus outbreak 

Officials are confident the Cheltenham Festival WILL go ahead as planned despite travel disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak

Racing officials are confident the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead next month despite the disruption to travel caused by the spread of the coronavirus, with a spokesperson for the course declaring it is ‘full speed ahead.’ 

An industry steering group has been set up to assess the impact of the virus comprising the British Horseracing Association, the Racecourse Association and the Horseman’s Group, but there are currently no concerns about jump racing’s blue riband event taking place as scheduled between March 10 and 13.

The impact of the virus on Irish sport in particular, with Ireland’s Six Nations game against Italy in Dublin next week at risk of being postponed, has led to questions being raised about Cheltenham going ahead. 

The Cheltenham Festival is set to go ahead despite travel disruption caused by the coronavirus

The racing steering group are liaising with the Department of Health and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and a fed back a positive report to a Board meeting of the Jockey Club on Tuesday.

The 2001 Festival was postponed and subsequently cancelled due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, when a local case led to an exclusion zone being placed around the course, but racing officials have been advised that the global spread of the coronavirus is not comparable.

‘All remains full speed ahead for The Festival in a fortnight’s time,’ a spokesperson for Cheltenham Racecourse said. 

‘Racing continues to liaise closely with government to stay on top of the situation and we are looking forward to four fantastic days of racing at Cheltenham.’


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