Local trainer Mick Appleby strongly criticised the decision to stage Tuesday’s meeting Leicester after the city had restrictions re-imposed after a spike of Coronavirus infections
- Trainer Mick Appleby criticised the decision to stage Tuesday’s Leicester meet
- Appleby was concerned over safety following a spike of Coronavirus infections
- Fellow trainers such as Chelsea Banham and Alan King also withdrew horses
Local trainer Mick Appleby strongly criticised the decision to stage Tuesday’s meeting Leicester after the city had restrictions re-imposed after a spike of Coronavirus infections.
Appleby, along with fellow trainers Chelsea Banham, Alan King, Graeme McPherson and David O’Meara, all withdrew horses citing COVID-19 concerns.
With only four out of the 11 in the stall handlers team also agreeing to work at the track, all races had to be started by Flip tape.
Trainer Mick Appleby strongly criticised the decision to stage Tuesday’s meeting Leicester
The BHA had given the go-ahead for the meeting the green light at 11am after consultation with the local health authority.
Appleby, who pulled out three horses, said: ‘I don’t think the meeting should have been allowed to go ahead. You don’t know who has been at the racecourse in the last few weeks, working there. I don’t think it’s safe.
‘The owners have agreed. I’d have had two favourites there and probably two winners. What would happen in a couple of days if someone who attends the meeting tests positive? Your yard would end up going into lockdown.
‘I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. It would have made common sense to call the meeting off. It’s not doing racing any favours whatsoever.’
Appleby was concerned over safety following a spike of Coronavirus infections in the City
Alan King also pulled out two horses, stating he was ‘not prepared to travel to Leicester’
King pulled out two horses, stating he was ‘not prepared to travel to Leicester due to current situation in the city regarding Covid-19’, while McPherson, who pulled Homing Star out of the penultimate race gave his reason as: ‘Government Guidance about travelling to and within Leicester, in particular the area within which the racecourse is situated, could not be clearer.
Racing at Leicester should not be taking place given the Government lockdown there.’ RaceTech, the company responsible for the stalls handler team, said it supported the decision of its employees not to work at Leicester.
A statement said: ‘Following confirmation earlier this morning that Tuesday’s race meeting at Leicester was to go ahead, we received notification from a number of our stalls handlers stating they felt uncomfortable working at the course this evening.
‘Unfortunately, due to the late notice, there was not sufficient time available to find replacement handlers to make up the team of 11 in time and therefore operate the starting stalls safely.’
Due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the area, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Monday evening that all non-essential businesses in Leicester would have to close again, with schools also closing from Thursday.
Matt Hancock announced that all non-essential businesses in Leicester would have to close
The BHA, who said that local people who worked at the meeting had all been subjected to health screening, added: ‘A number of individuals, including trainers and stalls handlers, have exercised their right not to travel to the race meeting at Leicester.
‘There are strict protocols in place at all race meetings including health screening and social distancing which ensure that the racecourse is one of the most controlled working environments, and local authorities indicated that the race meeting should go ahead.
‘However we entirely understand and respect the decisions taken by those individuals. Trainers have been informed that no penalties will be imposed with regards to withdrawn horses.’
Leicester is due on Tuesday when the city will still be subject to restrictions. Track general manager David Maykels said there would be discussions with the BHA to decide whether the fixture should be staged
Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien has lined up James Doyle, William Buick and Adam Kirby to ride for him alongside Ryan Moore in Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom. O’Brien, who could have seven runners, will run 1,000 Guineas winner Love in the Oaks and Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Peaceful in Sunday’s French Oaks.
O’Brien is considering running Irish Derby winner Santiago against Stradivarius in next month’s Goodwood Cup.