LIMERICK Racecourse became the third track in Ireland to stage behind closed door racing since the outbreak of the coronavirus when hosting an eight-race National Hunt card on Sunday.
The board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) announced on Thursday last that horse racing in Ireland will take place behind closed doors until Sunday, March 29. A full racecard too place at an eerily quiet Limerick Racecourse at Greenmount Park yesterday.
Racing opened on heavy ground with the Follow Limerick Racecourse On Facebook Hurdle which was won by 7/2 Cafe Con Leche who upset odds-on favourite Great Bear.
The winner, who also obliged at Clonmel recently, is owned and trained by Denis Hogan.
Blackjack Boy, trained in Rathkeale by Eric McNamara, came home third.
Talented Herbertstown jockey Donal McInerney finished second in the Follow Limerick Racecourse On Twitter Handicap Hurdle aboard 40/1 shot The Ballyboys. The runner-up finished four and a half lengths behind favourite, Cherif De L'isle.
Meanwhile, another Limerick jockey, Mark Enright, from Castlemahon, had to make do with a second place finish when his mount Killisk Ben Rose who finished first in the Follow Limerick Racecourse Handicap Steeplchase was later demoted to second behind Enduring Love.
The HRI decision follows Government advice to help contain the spread of Covid-19, including an instruction to limit external gatherings to less than 500 people.
A number of restrictions on race meetings staged up until March 29 include recommended social distancing measures implemented on track, with access to the meeting being restricted to essential service providers and industry participants.
No catering services, on course bookmakers or Tote services were provided, while one groom per runner declared was admitted to the racecourse along with just one owner per runner to be admitted to the races.
Only trainers of horses running at the meeting will be admitted to the racecourse. All participants will be asked to vacate the racecourse after their horses have run. Racing will continue to be made available to broadcasters as at present.
Strict measures must be undertaken by all industry bodies and racecourses.