This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
CHAMPION jockey Brian Hughes has given his backing to the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) medical team amid reports the ruling body is considering the introduction of a new coronavirus testing system.
Racing was the first elite sport to return last June following a three-month shutdown to combat the outbreak of Covid-19.
However, while strict protocols have been in place ever since — with all attendees required to complete a health questionnaire prior to each meeting and undergo temperature checks before being allowed entry — coronavirus testing has not been implemented, unlike in some other sports.
With a more virulent strain of the virus causing a significant rise in positive cases since Christmas, football’s Premier League and the English Football League (EFL) have moved to a more robust screening process, with players now being tested twice a week.
According to reports today, the BHA is currently weighing up the possibility of following a similar model for jockeys.
Hughes said: “I’m in support of keeping everybody safe. I feel Dr Jerry Hill [chief medical adviser] of the BHA has done a very good job in keeping us all safe — all the protocols and biosecurity measures that have been put in place I feel have worked very well.
“All the precautions that have been put in place are for our benefit. I feel it is working well, but if they feel that [testing] is necessary for the sport, I have no objections.
“From trainers, to owners, to stable staff, jockeys’ valets and all people that work at the races, everyone involved has pulled together.
“We all want to race and want to keep racing. We all want to do it safely, and I feel that has been done very well up until now.
“Everyone is learning all the time about Covid and the way it’s changing. Anything we can do to keep everyone safe is only a good thing.”
Conservative MP Laurence Robertson, chair of the all-party Parliamentary group for racing, whose constituency includes Cheltenham, said that testing should be introduced.
He said: “It would be a good idea for more testing to be done at racecourses, particularly if we can get a rapid rollout of quick-turnaround tests.
“Last summer we were restricted to testing people showing symptoms, but that is no longer the case.”
Measures to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus on racecourses have been strengthened in recent months, with face masks made mandatory in October and owners prevented from attending since the turn of the year.
A BHA spokesperson said: “Racing’s coronavirus control protocols are approved by UK government. Racing is a predominantly outdoor rural non-contact sport and it was agreed by DCMS and Public Health England that for this reason — allied to the stringent bespoke controls that have been put in place on racecourses — when racing resumed it would not require an ongoing mass-testing programme, but instead would utilise a strict health-screening approach.
“The sport’s protocols are working well, and the industry has acted very responsibly in terms of observing government guidance. As a result there has been no evidence observed of transmission of the disease on racecourses since the sport resumed on June 1, from around 800 fixtures.
“However, we are constantly monitoring the situation and liaising with the industry and training hubs. We take an agile approach and our protocols are under constant review to determine how racing can continue to strengthen our approach and best safeguard our people.
“Owing to the new variant of the disease the picture is changing — and should evidence show it is necessary, then testing is an option that may be helpful. As ever, we will be led by the science, data and evidence.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.