Point to point season cancelled due to Covid pandemic

Point to points cancelled BR Farm
INSPECTION: Right, Northern Turf Club Inspector of Courses, Frankie Fitzsimmons had just completed laying out the course following an inspection and organised the Covid protocols to be in place at the scheduled first fixture at Tyrella, when the news broke that the Spring season had been cancelled. (FW03-504SO)

IN a not unexpected decision due to the ever-increasing cases of Covid 19, the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee last Wednesday (January 13) announced the suspension of the 2021 Point-to-Point season in Ireland, with immediate effect following updated Government guidance.

Clarification was received from the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that Point-to-Point racing would not be included in the category of professional and elite sports permitted to continue behind closed doors.

SUCCESSFUL RUN: Derrylin trainer, David Christie and Belfast owner, Ray Nicholas had been enjoying a successful run in point to points and hunterchases prior to the cancellation of the Spring season. (FW03-503SO)

This will mean that no upcoming Point-to-Point fixtures will take place until further notice.

Paul Murtagh, Registrar of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee (INHSC), said: “On behalf of the stewards of the INHSC, we note the clarification received today from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that Point-to-Points should not take place until further notice, recognising the difficult situation the country finds itself in presently.

“We will now begin to investigate the options available to us around the fixture list and race programming for when we are permitted to recommence. We will continue to liaise closely with Horse Racing Ireland on this matter and will remain racing-ready to run Point-to-Points once we get the green light.”

The first Northern fixture had been scheduled for Tyrella on Saturday, January 23.

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