By Jon Lees
Germany: Leading German trainer Andreas Wohler said racing has been “desperately missed” as the sport was finally given the all-clear to restart with a 12-race card at Hanover on Thursday.
After a false start on Monday when the fixture at Dortmund had to be called off, local officials in Hanover have sanctioned what will be the first meeting in Germany since March 15.
No spectators will be admitted and strict hygiene and social distancing protocols have to be observed.
“It’s very important for all of us, particularly German racing, and hopefully other racecourses will get permission to start racing as well,” said Wohler.
“We have desperately missed racing because we have horses that are ready to run but in the circumstances you have to wait, there wasn’t any choice.”
The Dortmund meeting was postponed because of revised coronavirus legislation and permission for Hanover to go ahead was not confirmed until Wednesday.
Deutscher Galopp president Dr Michael Vesper said: “We are relieved and grateful to authorities such as the racing club that people in racing businesses can now go back to work.”
Wohler, a King George and Melbourne Cup-winning trainer, has a number of runners at the meeting including in the two feature Listed prizes, one of which will feature G3-winning filly Axana.
Another of the stable’s G3 winners, Ashrun, is set to return in the G2 Carl Jaspers at Cologne on Friday. “The horses are pretty fit.” said Wohler. “Axana is a nice filly and we are looking forward to getting her and the other horses back on the track for racing. Ashrun is a big French horse who has improved since last year.”
Germany, where there has been no racing since March 15, is set to become the first major European racing nation to return to action after the coronavirus shutdown. France is set to resume on Monday with a bumper card at ParisLongchamp.
However, the German resumption will proceed on a track-by-track basis. “It’s different here in Germany,” explained Wohler. “No decision has been made for all tracks. Everywhere the tracks are based there is a different region of government who have to give their permission.”