And so racing in Ireland goes on, but behind closed doors. Monday saw the start of the flat season at Naas, with nobody watching on from the stands, no bookmakers or catering staff on site, no owners allowed.

These are the strict guidelines that racing most follow in these challenging times to keep their show on the road in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. 

John Osborne is Director of Equine Welfare and Bloodstock with HRI and he was at pains to stress that racing will continue to adhere to government guidelines.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport's Joe Stack at Naas, he said: "Racing is just not a sport, yes it's exciting and entertaining but it also backs up 28,000 jobs. A crop of two-year-olds which are showcased here in the first two-year-old race measure 9,500 foals. It's not all about money nowadays.

"The government did say 'business as usual' to every extent possible, but within the bounds of constraint that this epidemic puts upon us. 

"Participants here are brave to participate and do so because they believe this industry is worth preserving."

As to how long, racing will continue its behind-closed-doors policy, Osbourne wasn't looking too far into the future.

"We have to take it a day at a time and every day will be taken on its merits," he added.

"The current situation is difficult and its evolving. Every week the policy will be reviewed, root and branch. If we can do anything to improve it we will do so."