The global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has brought the world to a standstill and sport is no different.
If you happen to be a punter, logging onto your favourite online betting site is likely to have a lack of options at this time with most, if not all competitions suspended until further notice.
To the eyes of many, however, things are slowly starting to stabilise. So, what are the plans for horse racing in the foreseeable future, and when can we expect racing events to be back? Let's look at what experts have to say.
Horse Racing Suspended
As sports authorities across the globe started catching on to the gravity of the situation in March, opinions were split about how horse racing events should proceed. Some events, mainly the Grand National, were immediately called off until more was known. Others, such as Cheltenham continued, while other meetings kept going behind closed doors or in a limited capacity.
However, a more definitive suspension came around as time went on and the number of infections and fatalities kept increasing. The last meetings at Taunton and Wetherby on March 17 marked the enforced stoppage of horse racing, as the BHA called for a halt to protect essential services.
Competitions continued behind closed doors in Ireland, although this only lasted until March 24, when the authorities ordered an end to all sporting events.
For a time, that was it for racing fans – but with no clear timeline on how the lockdown is going to proceed, questions are being raised about the future of the sport.
The Return of Racing
While no dates have been set for UK races as of the writing of this article, some predictions are more optimistic than others. Across the globe, we can see instances of a return to normal – or at least an attempt.
In France, they have already seen racing resume from May 11 - similarly, Germany restarted horse racing action in early May. As for the rest of the world, it is not likely that racing will be back so soon.
In Britain, the authorities are hopeful that some racing can return in early June, while the Irish government have given the go-ahead for the meetings to return from June 8.
One way or another, though, any return will be in a limited capacity. During the start of lockdown, racing continued without spectators, making them a much smaller liability in terms of spreading the virus.
It would be a a real shame – the Cheltenham Festival hosts some 150,000 spectators each year – but still preferable to an outright ban for the whole season.
In terms of betting, this is mostly good news. While watching a race on a live betting platform might not be as exciting without the roaring crowds, wagering should resume as normal.
New sports bookies are regularly appearing online to try and address this issue and while some of these may be new creations entirely, occasionally you will find a brick and mortar bookmaker has made the move to the online world, a prime example being VOdds. A massive Asian handicap betting platform that offer aggregated real-time odds from a comprehensive list of difficult to reach Asian bookies, VOdds have a growing list of bookmakers includes Pinnacle Sports, SBOBET, MaxBet, and plenty more to choose from.
Users can access VOdds through the usual channels of vodds.com, vodds.co or vodds.net, or use a VPN for uninterrupted access. Not only are most bookmakers moving online to help save costs, it also gives them the opportunity to offer a wider range of sports betting markets.
All in all, things are still uncertain, but we're at least getting some races for the time being – such as the examples of France and Germany. The rest of the world can be expected to follow suit shortly, and horse racing will continue its millennia-old tradition.
Article Posted on Wednesday 20th May 2020 @ 15.53
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