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Hopes to resume at some point in May any return to action will be behind closed doors until at least June.

Nick Rust, BHA chief executive, said: “We stopped racing in March to protect the health and safety of the public and to limit demands on the NHS. It’s right to continue this suspension until the pressure on the NHS allows for a resumption and we can assure the safety of those taking part.

“We are in touch with government as part of our development of a responsible, coordinated plan for the return of sport when it’s appropriate to do so.

“We’ll continue to develop a range of options drawing on the expertise of our participants and racecourses. But for now, we are all focused on supporting the national effort, maintaining social distancing restrictions and taking care of our people and our horses.”

Speaking in an interview on Sky Sports Racing following the announcement, Rust added: “As soon as we are clear with our daily discussions with the government about a return, then we will be ready to do so.

“When we have the right conditions then we will be able to resume racing in as good a form as we can, which will be behind closed doors and will mean social distancing and restrictions on track and where we can race. We have planned a number of scenarios so we are ready to go.

“Sport has to listen to what the government is advising us to follow, but we are talking to the government every day and making the point that when conditions allow, we are able to resume economic activity.

“We didn’t want to put a date on it to give false hope or to mislead, but we are saying to the industry that we will be ready to come back as soon as those conditions are satisfied.

“The government knows we are not just a sport and it is aware of that. It knows that we are industry with 14,000 horses that need looking after and that staff can’t look after horses if they’re furloughed.

“So our industry is bearing a huge cost to keep maintaining the standards we expect and the industry is doing a tremendous job of keeping going at this time. The sport is ready to return under all circumstances, once it is safe to do so.”

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