RYEDALE trainers and jockeys are facing a “frustrating unknown period” as British horse racing has been cancelled until at least the end of April due to the coronavirus outbreak.

While owners are continuing to pay training fees, smaller businesses and self-employed staff may struggle with this unknown period.

“If British racing is reinstated at the beginning of May, I’ll be surprised,” said Tim Fitzgerald, the chairman of the Malton Trainers Association.

“This is a national emergency, something which most of us have never seen before.

“Every business, trainer or jockey is adapting to this differently, but now we need increased clarity on what resources are available.

“Some companies have lost income, suppliers and even horses – everything is constantly changing.

“The unknown period is frustrating, but luckily, we don’t have many horses at the moment and our training is ongoing.

“We can still do other things whilst the season is postponed, so we are ready to go once restrictions are lifted.”

Racing Welfare, a registered charity supporting the workforce of British horseracing, is now offering a streamline application for financial grants.

Anyone in the British horseracing and breeding industry can apply for immediate financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant is calculated into fortnightly amounts for a single applicant (£150) and that of a family (£210).

The payments are intended to cover basic necessities – such as food, electricity and heating.

“We recognise that the situation is affecting the lives of people within racing in many different ways, with immediate financial need for individuals being just one of these,” said Dawn Goodfellow, chief executive of Racing Welfare.

“We are focusing our response on three main strands of work including the provision of hardship grants, the remaining two of which are: the publication of reliable advice and guidance in relation to the outbreak and its impact, and community support services to prevent loneliness and isolation during this time.

“The crisis is generating a lot of complex needs and so our services are designed to support people who require support on multiple fronts.”

Before a grant application is processed, the charity’s welfare team will conduct a needs-based assessment, including supporting people to claim any benefits and other statutory entitlements.

Racing Welfare’s existing grant application process remains in place to provide additional financial assistance if required.