Horse racing trainer Jimmy Frost’s fears for ‘major casulaties’ in sport
- Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK
South Devon's leading trainer Jimmy Frost fears that racing will suffer major casualties - in owners, trainers, staff and horses - if the coronavirus 'shutdown' lasts for most of the summer.
The sport has been suspended until further notice and Frost, who trains near Buckfastleigh, says: 'A lot of people will go to the wall through this.'
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has raised hopes that flat racing in the UK might get the go-ahead to resume behind closed doors, and with limited fields, within the next two months.
But Newton Abbot Racecourse stages jumps racing through the summer, and there is no indication yet of when that programme might start.
Frost, 61, whose daughter Bryony is one of the sport's most popular jockeys, stressed: 'Owners are not going to keep paying the bills if there's no racing.
'Many of them are businessmen or women, and we all know what's happening to business at the moment.
'The first things to go are the yacht, the big car or, of course, the horses.
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'We've got around 20 horses in training here.
'You do need to feed them every day. They can't stay in the stables 24/7, so you have to turn them out and also gallop them two or three times a week.
'I've got some terrific staff here who have to be paid, and it's good that my kids are around most of the time.'
Although Frost's son Hadden is no longer a professional jockey, he has ridden successfully under rules and he and Bryony are rated as two of the most talented riders around.
Jimmy said: 'We've got some promising young horses in the yard, and they won't get better teachers than Hadden and Bryony.
'But some people are talking about racing not starting again until October - well, a lot of horses will have gone by then.
'In the meantime we're just keeping going as best we can.'