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Horse Racing

Gordon Elliott warns that trainers and jockeys face ruin if racing can’t resume in Ireland soon

GORDON ELLIOTT has warned trainers and jockeys ‘face ruin’ unless racing returns this month.

The Grand National-winning handler is fuming at the lack of racing leadership in the wake of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s speech last Friday.

Gordon Elliott has warned of dire consequences in Ireland if racing is suspended until the summer

Elliott has lashed out as fears grow jumps racing may not return until the end of the summer.

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) believed they were on track to start a month of Flat racing within the next ten days – with jumps action then starting up in June.

However, that plan has been thrown into question after Varadkar’s comments which stated there would be no behind-closed-door sports in Ireland until June 29 at the earliest.

If that is the case – and the HRI stick to their original plan – it means there could be no jumps racing until late July or August.

Elliott believes that would be a catastrophe for the jumps game.

He said: “We must start racing again soon. We can’t allow the dust to continue to settle until the end of the summer.

“There are a lot of trainers and jockeys out there who have families to support and care for and mortgages to pay and they are facing ruin.

“We all need some clear answers going forward.”

Elliott added: “This has been a very difficult time for everybody and I know racing is just one of many walks of life which is facing up to an uncertain future.

“I’m sure detailed plans are being drawn up for the next few months and within those plans we can’t leave jump racing behind.”

The HRI are busy lobbying the government and believe, as racing falls under the ministry of agriculture, there could be some wiggle room to get both Flat and jump racing going when some restrictions are eased.

And the pressure will be on the Irish regulator, with racing in France set to resume on 11 May with Britain likely not far behind.