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Harness racing season brought to an abrupt end

Driving Horse and Pony Club president Colin Mello(Photograph by Colin Thompson)

The Driving Horse and Pony Club have pulled the plug on the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.

The season was suspended last December after a spike in the number of positive Covid-19 cases on the island led to a Government shutdown of sporting activities. The DHPC executive had hoped that Government’s four-stage plan for sporting activities to resume would have run its course to allow racing to return to Vesey Street by Spring.

However, after much consideration on a number of key factors, the association has decided best to end the season early.

“Unfortunately, given the current restrictions in place and not knowing when group sizes would increase enough to support racing, or when spectators would be allowed to return to sports, the DHPC committee had to make the decision that it was not viable to resume our 2020-2021 race season as we had hoped on March 14, 2021,” said Colin Mello, the DHPC president.

In phase four – “Return to Play” – fans will be permitted at sporting events, although the maximum number is still to be determined by the health department.

“Since December our members and owners have put in considerable effort keeping the ponies in race ready condition so we are all disappointed to not be going back to racing,” Mello added.

“But given the circumstances we are all living in, it is the best decision for now. The ponies can now enjoy some time off in hopes that we can have a more normal race season for 2021-22.”

Government’s “Return to Play” guidance initiative for sport moved to phase three last week, with saliva Covid testing also commencing.

As part of the stage, there is a requirement of participants and officials needing a negative Covid-19 test no later than three days before training and repeated every 28 to 30 days.

As a result, saliva screening has commenced with all athletes engaged in close-contact sport aged 11 and over wishing to participate in stage three training having been urged by the Government to register for saliva Covid testing.

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Published February 24, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 23, 2021 at 10:38 pm)

Harness racing season brought to an abrupt end

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