Fri, 27 Mar 2020
FOLLY House trainer Jamie Snowden has been surprised at how quickly horseracing in Britain was brought to a complete halt.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced last week that racing would continue behind closed doors, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, just a day later, the authorities put a stop to racing in Britain until the end of April – when the situation will be reviewed once more.
“Everything happened really quickly,” admitted Lambourn-based Snowden. “One minute we were at Cheltenham and the next minute we were racing behind closed doors.
“We knew it was coming and we kind of hoped that racing behind closed doors would have lasted rather longer than it did.
“The cancellation of racing came up very suddenly and I don’t think anyone expected it to happen so quickly.”
The team at Folly House have been following Government guidelines and Snowden explained some of the changes they have made.
He said: “We put up signs about not going into the staff kitchen for any length of time or to sit around there.
“When we’re making tea and coffee and food, we’re bringing it outside so we are not in a crowded room,” he said.
“The usual handwashing has also been maintained based on the Government advice.
“We have started turning winter horses out and the babies will soon go out, which will leave us with a skeleton number of horses, and staff will be doing their summer jobs six weeks earlier than normal.
“We have had our best season to date and it’s disappointing to see the season finish early, but we have to hope we can get through the situation quickly and be back racing soon.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic, racing in Britain has been suspended for the foreseeable future, including the 2020 Grand National – due to take place at Aintree Racecourse on April 4.
Snowden had entered Hogan’s Height into the elite Group 1 race and is obviously disappointed that it won’t be taking place.
He said: “From a personal point of view, we have had our best season to date and we have had a good few runners ready to go to the Aintree Festival.
“Hogan’s Height was going to be our first runner in the Grand National, so it’s obviously disappointing, but everyone’s health is the prime concern.
“If we’re back racing in May – the earliest the BHA have said we will be back – then it won’t affect us too badly.
“However, if this is delayed until the end of summer or maybe into autumn, then life will become even trickier than it already is.”
It’s been a memorable season for the team at Folly House and Snowden hopes that once the situation is over, they can move forward.
“We have had 46 winners from our 50-horse yard,” said Snowden. “I think there are only two trainers in the top 25 with a better strike rate.
“Pacify won for The Duchess of Cornwall, which was a listed race at Kempton, while Thebannerkingrebel won a listed race at Haydock and Hogan’s Height won over the Grand National fences in the Grand Sefton.
“We hope we can all get through the tricky few weeks and months ahead and come out of it in a strong position to build on further.”