We have been receiving many queries from each stakeholder in recent days and have put together the Q&A below to offer advice.
We would note that below is our advice for now and may change over the coming days. The staff of Irish Point to Point Services Ltd are now working from home, and as we cannot answer your calls, we hope that this may go some way to answer your queries.
The IHRB will lead on all matters in relation to point-to-pointing and we suggest that for all up to date information you should follow IHRB on twitter and view their website, and remain confident that our staff, whilst working from home, will bring you the most up to date news as it becomes available.
1. Why were point to points cancelled last weekend?
The IHRB released a statement which noted the reason for cancelling last weekend’s point to points. This included:
“It is the considered opinion of the Stewards that it may not be practicable in all respects to adhere to the strict social distancing protocols required, as will be enforced for all fixtures being staged at racecourses.”
2. Is the point to point season finished for the season now?
No. The end of the IHRB statement noted:
“The Stewards acknowledge the great efforts which were invested by many in the hope that Point to Points could continue under strict protocols, and they wish to reassure the Point to Point community that the will and means are there to re-instate fixtures as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.”
Due to the ever evolving situation upcoming Point to Point fixtures have been cancelled until further notice. Regular updates will be issued once we have further further information. Point to Points will recommence when it is deemed appropriate to do so.— IHRB (@ihrb_ie) March 24, 2020
3. Why was the season not just cancelled at this time?
Whilst some may feel cancelling the season may give clarity, it must be remembered that we are currently in late March.
By leaving the door open to return then in two weeks, a month or even six weeks should we have managed the Covid-19 crisis well and find ourselves able to return, we could have a considerable amount of the season available to run.
If point-to-points were to be cancelled now we would be removing that option. The IHRB and HRI have therefore taken a decision which allows us, if at all possible, to salvage some of this season and this must be welcomed.
4. Is it realistic to think Point-to-Point horses could run again this season?
Horse Racing and indeed some point-to-points have proven that it is possible to race behind closed door and respect the required social distancing protocols. There are valuable learnings which can be taken from every single meeting which is taking place and the IHRB will presumably be looking to see what could be applied to the point-to-point environment should the time come that we can return.
There are many possible options which could be considered provided the Covid-19 allows us to do so in the coming weeks.
If you have any ideas which you believe would allow point-to-points to work well do please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Should I keep my horses in or let them out?
This will be a personal decision for each owner and handler. The season is not yet confirmed to be over and we have learned so much over the last few weeks and indeed days that it seems likely a much clearer picture will emerge in the next week or indeed two.
Some may choose to let off horses which are likely to be Autumn horses in any case, but others who have horses who would traditionally like better ground may keep them going should April/May stage some pointing.
6. What will happen next?
Over the coming days as the Covid-19 picture becomes clearer, the IHRB and HRI continue to work closely in relation to Horse Racing and its ongoing continuation. Both bodies have been notably supportive of point-to-points and remain so.
As soon as they reasonably can, it seems likely there will be an announcement which gives us a clearer picture on the short-term future of point to pointing. Whilst it may be a little frustrating for some to wait for clarity it does seem as though patience may be our best ally. If we can allow the racing picture to continue and become clearer we may then be able to see what can be done for point-to-points.
Please note that online entry will not open this week for fixtures scheduled to take place on the weekend of March 28/29.
7. Our Committee are due to run a Point to Point this season – what should we do?
If you are due to run next weekend or indeed the weekend after the IHRB will be in contact as soon as they possibly can to discuss plans.
If you are due to hold a point-to-point later in April or indeed May, it would seem likely that it would be best if you can postpone any decision making for a week or two until the picture becomes clearer.
If your committee wishes to run at all costs then this may be welcomed when the time comes to run. If your committee is keen to cancel at this time there will be plenty of time to make contact with the IHRB to discuss this also.
Please respect that the IHRB are currently engaged in the logistics of running race meetings at this challenging time alongside working towards the resumption of point-to-points.
8. How will I keep up to date with what is happening?
Information as it becomes available will be posted on both the IHRB and P2P.ie websites and social media accounts.
9. What will happen at P2P.ie for the coming days/weeks?
We look forward to engaging with our daily visitors in a creative way to provide interesting content at a time when people may be isolated.
As staff are working from home at this time, please contact P2P.ie staff via email and contact details can be found HERE.