HORSE RACING could be back on track by the end of May, making it the first sport to return since lockdown began.

The British Horse Racing Authority has been in talks with the government about the possibility of resuming races behind closed doors when coronavirus lockdown protocols are relaxed in the coming weeks.

Chief executive of the BHA, Nick Rust, claimed racing has the advantage over other sports as it doesn't require weeks of training beforehand: "We can be one of the first to go. We don't have Premier League footballers training for six weeks in our sport. Our equine and human athletes are ready to go within a week to help bring live sport back.

"We don't want to make the case ahead of public opinion. We're saying, 'We're ready when you're ready', when the public health advice is ready. We have to keep working away with Government and try to bring racing back when it's safe to do so."

The sport was hit by major controversy when The Cheltenham Gold Cup went ahead on March 13 as the last major meeting before the government banned mass gatherings. Royal Ascot is still anticipated to take place behind closed doors in its existing slot, starting on June 16.