Amateur runners will be barred from competing according to the rules from Saturday, due to the continued increase in Covid-19 infections.
As the government tries to suppress the virus by introducing new restrictions, amateur riders are the latest to be affected.
The decision was made by the racing industry’s Covid-19 steering group, which is constantly reviewing coronavirus protocols to determine how racing can continue to strengthen its approach.
The group made its decision because it “complies with government restrictions on the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension from grassroots sport.”
Races already on the calendar will have their conditions modified by the British Horseracing Authority to reflect the current situation.
Big fan David Maxwell, who owns the horses he rides and is on the verge of regaining his form after a serious neck injury, recognizes the reasons for the change, even if it will crush his own plans.
He said: “It’s disappointing – but the thing about the whole situation I found early on is you are starting from a position where something bad has happened to you.
“At first I’m like, ‘I’ve got 15 riding in hunter chases, poor me’ – but then you start to think about the people who have lost their jobs and their businesses and all those who have lost their way. life. “
Maxwell himself has been personally affected by the pandemic, his driver and friend Mohammed Sidat having recently died of coronavirus.
He added: “Poor old Mohammed is dead – so in the grand scheme of this pandemic, the fact that amateurs are not allowed to ride is a small inconvenience in the scale of what is happening.
“It’s boring – but with what’s going on, they’re little potatoes.”
Hunter hunters, previously the domain of amateur jockeys, will continue to be programmed but will be open to professional riders only.
In Ireland, the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee (INHSC) has announced that all point to point will be suspended with immediate effect following updated government guidelines.
Paul Murtagh, INHSC Registrar, said: “On behalf of the INHSC Trustees, we take note of the clarification received today from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Navy that the Points to points should not take place until further notice, recognizing the difficult situation in which the country currently finds itself.
“We will now begin to consider the options available to us around the game list and the race schedule for when we will be allowed to start over. We will continue to work closely with HRI on this issue and will remain ready for the point-to-point race once we get the green light. “
The British point-to-point season has been temporarily suspended since January 4.