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Lavery slams HRI over 'deafening silence'


CRITICISM: Trainer Sheila Lavery has hit out at Horse Racing Ireland. Photo.carolinenorris.ie

CRITICISM: Trainer Sheila Lavery has hit out at Horse Racing Ireland. Photo.carolinenorris.ie

CRITICISM: Trainer Sheila Lavery has hit out at Horse Racing Ireland. Photo.carolinenorris.ie

Leading trainer Sheila Lavery has laid into Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) chiefs for their "deafening silence" around the return of Irish racing.

Trainers, jockeys and all of those within the industry are clueless about a possible resumption date following Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's announcement of his five-phase plan to ease lockdown restrictions last Friday.

HRI were "seeking clarification" on when racing could return last weekend but that situation doesn't seem to have progressed, with those seeking comment being met with silence from racing's governing body.

Lavery has been left "deeply frustrated and very vulnerable" by the lack of information and the Meath trainer laid a broadside directly at the door of HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh.

"I understand the seriousness of the situation but what I don't understand is why the governors of our industry are so silent. It may have happened on the Bank Holiday weekend but you'd think they'd say something," Lavery said.

"There is nothing, absolutely nothing. Even if they came out and said there were things going on in the background. I'm assuming that things are happening behind closed doors but inform us.

"It leaves you feeling very vulnerable and it leaves you wondering are the people in charge actually in charge?

"You'd be worried whether they are doing a good job when they are not letting us know in any way, shape or form what is happening.

"When you look at the size of the industry, it is absolutely bizarre what's going on. Brian Kavanagh is tweeting pictures of parts of Ireland, I don't want to see that, I want to see him tweeting something about the talks or when we might resume."

The possibility of racing not returning until phase three of Varadkar's plan on June 29 would have disastrous consequences for Irish racing.

Outdoor activities like golf and tennis are permitted from May 18, but it is unclear where racing stands, despite falling under the Agriculture remit.

Middle ground may be sought between HRI and government officials with Phase Two - which starts on June 8 - a possible resumption date but that is mere noise amid a communication blackout which has helped tarnish the HRI's reputation.

Meanwhile, a stellar cast of entries sees Earthlight, Victor Ludorum and Sottsass all feature for what looks set to be a blockbuster resumption of racing in France on Monday.

The sport has been suspended across the Channel since March 17. France Galop has been working towards a resumption behind closed doors on May 11, with four Group races scheduled for the opening afternoon at ParisLongchamp.

Earthlight and Victor Ludorum were both Group One winners for Andre Fabre last season and are among 12 possibles for the Group Three Prix de Fontainebleau over a mile.