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Horse sport pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II amid plans for coming days

  • The sporting world is paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with two-minute silences and some rescheduling planned for fixtures taking place over the coming days.

    British Eventing (BE) fixtures will go ahead today (Friday, 9 September) and over the weekend, with a two-minute silence on each day. BE will also be implementing a media blackout until 9am on Monday.

    The sole international eventing fixture planned in Britain this week, Cornbury House Horse Trials, is continuing, while paying respects to Her Majesty.

    “Everyone involved in the Cornbury House Horse Trials is deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and join the rest of the country and millions of people around the world in mourning,” said a statement from the event.

    “After much consideration and following consultation with British Eventing and the Government, as our riders and horses are with us and in the middle of the horse trials, we will continue for the final three days on a non-commercial basis and will refund all Friday, Saturday and Sunday tickets regardless of whether spectators choose to attend.

    “We fully support the personal decisions of our riders, owners, volunteers and spectators as we continue.”

    The event held a two-minute silence at noon today for the eventing community to “pay our respects to Her Majesty and her extraordinary life and service”.

    The decision was made not to show Cornbury’s cross-country on the live stream, but it will be recorded and shown at a later date.

    British Showjumping, of which The Queen was patron for 70 years, held a two-minute silence at all UK shows today. Fixtures will continue as scheduled this weekend. The British team at the veteran European Championships in Germany are wearing black armbands, with the hosts flying the Union Flag at half-mast.

    British Dressage fixtures are going ahead today – and expected to run over the weekend – with a two-minute silence observed.

    The sole team chasing fixture schedule for this weekend, the Belvoir team chase and hunter trial, will go ahead on Sunday.

    A statement from the organisers said that even though the fixture is going ahead, they are “very aware of recent events” and it “will be run with this in mind”.

    The British Show Horse Association cancelled its championship show at Arena UK after the news broke. Competitors on site last night observed a two minute silence and the national anthem was played.

    All British racing fixtures were suspended after the news of Her Majesty’s passing broke on Thursday afternoon, with meetings cancelled today and tomorrow. Racing will resume on Sunday at all planned courses, with the exception of Musselburgh out of respect for the fact that The Queen’s body will be lying in rest in Edinburgh.

    An additional, amended nine-race card is also programmed for Sunday at Doncaster, featuring the rescheduled Cazoo St Leger and other key races from the abandoned Doncaster days. Five races will be shown on ITV 4, with the whole card broadcast on Sky Sports Racing.

    “Her Majesty the Queen’s affinity and bond with British racing was enduring and unique, and a number of our sport’s participants have a close, direct relationship with her,” said British Horseracing Authority chief executive Jullie Harrington.

    “It is out of respect for this, and in sympathy with her family including King Charles III, that the sport has taken the decision to continue our suspension of fixtures into Saturday.

    “The return of racing on Sunday will see the running of the Cazoo St Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races and a race which the Queen won with her filly Dunfermline in 1977. This will also provide an opportunity for the sport and its supporters to pay its respects to Her Majesty, for the contribution which she has made to the sport to be marked, and for racing to express its deep gratitude to her and sympathies to her family.”

    The decision to cancel racing on Saturday was also made to allow those involved in the sport to take in the formal proclamation of King Charles III’s reign on Saturday afternoon.

    All racecourses will mark Her Majesty’s passing with on-course tributes during the mourning period.

    A period of silence will be observed ahead of each opening race, jockeys will wear black armbands and flags will fly at half-mast.

    “These marks of respect will continue to be observed until Her Majesty’s funeral next week, and further updates will follow in due course,” said a BHA spokesman.

    “Decisions will be made in due course about other important days in the mourning period, such as the commencement of Her Majesty lying in state and the day of the funeral, as details are confirmed.

    “We remain in close consultation with Government as part of this process. We would highlight that this decision has been made to reflect Her Majesty the Queen’s special relationship with racing, and that other sports will, in line with national mourning guidance, make their own decisions as they see appropriate.”

    The Racing Welfare-organised Epsom and Malton open days, scheduled for Sunday are cancelled.

    “In light of the incredibly sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen, some trainers no longer felt comfortable in opening their yards, while the revised racing fixture for Sunday has also meant that for others, it is no longer possible to open,” said a statement from the charity.

    National Racehorse Week will otherwise mainly be going ahead, starting a day later than originally billed. Events due to take place tomorrow are cancelled, in line with British racing’s suspension of all fixtures, with the week now starting on Sunday and running until 18 September.

    “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and send our heartfelt condolences to all of the Royal Family at this time,” said Rod Street, chief executive of Great British Racing.

    “Her Majesty The Queen’s knowledge and love of the thoroughbred was unrivalled and we want to honour this by continuing with National Racehorse Week.

    “What better way for people to express their love and gratitude for The Queen than to get close to the very animals that brought her such immense pleasure throughout her life.

    “Over the coming days thousands of people will be welcomed at yards up and down the country. Continuing with this event is a way to mark and reflect Her Majesty’s lifelong love of racing.”

    A decision on the Sir Henry Cecil Open Weekend in Newmarket (17 to 18 September) will be taken early next week.

    All hunting activities are currently suspended.

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