Racing in Ireland will return with a flat meeting behind closed doors at Naas on Monday, 8 June, while the Irish 2000 and 1000 Guineas will take place on the first weekend back at the Curragh. 

The Board of Horse Racing Ireland met on Saturday to map out the initial stages of the sport's resumption along with prize money recommendations.

For the first three weeks, racing will be restricted to nine racecourses which are more centrally located to minimise travel distances and which also have higher stable capacities given the requirement for one stable per horse under the new protocols. 

Wherever possible eight-race cards will be staged to maximise opportunities for the horse population. Safety limits will be decided on a racecourse by racecourse basis to accommodate each track's social distancing requirements, with a general maximum limit of 18 initially.

It has been agreed that Cork racecourse will not be among those used in June when it will continue to serve an important role as an HSE Test Centre for Covid-19.

The key dates with regard to action on the flat will see the Curragh host the 2000 Guineas on Friday, 12 June, with the 1000 Guineas a day later, while the Derby and the Oaks retain its traditional dates on Saturday, 27 June and Saturday, 18 July respectively. The Champions Weekend will take place at Leopardstown/Curragh across the weekend of 12/13 September.

National Hunt racing will resume with action at Limerick on Monday, 22 June. 

Arising from the financial situation the industry finds itself in, a reduction in prize money will take immediate effect for June, with the possibility that further downward adjustments will be required through the rest of the year. The focus has been on maintaining prize money levels in the lower to medium tiers as high as possible.

The new proposed prize money for Group 1 races already closed, or about to close for entry, sees the Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes both cut to €750,000 (by 50% and 40% from €1.5m and €1.25m respectively) with significant reductions to all other Group 1 races throughout the year. The 1000 and 2000 Guineas will both be worth €250,000. 

General prize money reductions, initially to the end of June:

Base values for Group 1 Flat races cut by 30%-50%

Base values for races above €50,000 cut by at least 25%

Base values for races above €20,000 to €50,000 cut by 20%

Base values for races above €15,000 to €20,000 cut by 15%

Base values for races from €10,000 to €15,000 cut by 10%

Minimum value of €10,000 cut by 10% to €9,000

Entries fees for all races will be reduced in line with prize money reductions

There will be no apprentice races or claiming races in the opening two weeks, and 10lb claimers with less than six rides will not be permitted to take rides in the first fortnight.

With no racecourse saunas permitted to open under the Covid-19 protocols, the 2lb increase in weights introduced in March will continue to be applied to all races.

"We expect there to be significant demand for horses to run once we resume, and we will aim to provide opportunities across the spectrum of age, gender and ability"

Speaking on the schedule put in place, while looking further ahead, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: "We are grateful to everybody for the patience they have shown during this very difficult time and we will provide every opportunity for essential personnel to fully understand and implement the return to racing protocols.

"Regrettably, due to the financial circumstances of the industry, prize money cuts are inevitable and we have adopted a tiered approach, endeavouring to protect the grassroots of the industry as much as possible.

"We expect there to be significant demand for horses to run once we resume, and we will aim to provide opportunities across the spectrum of age, gender and ability.

"We will have missed 11 weeks' racing which will take some time to catch up. We intend to do this over the course of the rest of the year rather than immediately."The resumption of racing will allow sales, trade and other ancillary services to get going again and will be widely welcomed in those areas.

"Horse Racing Ireland are liaising closely with our international counterparts regarding the resumption of racing in those countries and issues such as protocols, international runners and prize money levels."