Following Monday evening’s announcement by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the whole country would move to Level three on the Government’s five-level Living with Covid-19 plan, The Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee have confirmed that owners will now again not be permitted to attend point-to-point fixtures.
That decision which comes into effect with immediate effect, beginning with this weekend’s three fixtures at Moira, Dromahane and Loughrea, follows the similar move of Horse Racing Ireland which has also announced that owners cannot attend racecourses whilst the country remains under Level 3 status.
The point-to-point season had begun without owners as racing remains behind closed doors, however following last month’s publication of the Government’s Living with Covid-19 plan which was introduced with the country at Level two status, owners were permitted to attend from the second weekend of the point-to-point season at Oldcastle and Monksgrange.
Under the LWC plan, and following the success of the sport’s Covid protocols, racing can continue behind closed doors up to level four, with the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan offering a further boost for the sport by stating that racing could also continue under the countries strictest level five lockdown.
In Dr Holohon’s letter to the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, the chair of NPHET stated that under a level five lockdown horse racing behind closed doors would be exempt from the ban on sporting events from taking place.