Barring a disaster, British racing has been given the green light to return on Monday June 1, and officials at Newcastle Racecourse have already confirmed their plans to get started on that very day with an eight-race card on their all-weather track.
The British Horseracing Authority have confirmed that they are happy for racing to resume in June – assuming continued improvement of the current situation is managed in the coming weeks, and a draft fixture list has already been drawn up as the sport readies itself for a return behind closed doors.
The first eight days of racing, according to the plan, will see 18 meetings at seven different tracks, and the great news is that the Guineas weekend – the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas being the first Classics of the flat campaign – is scheduled to go ahead on June 6-7 at Newmarket as planned.
Here’s a quick look at the first week of action under the BHA’s proposed plan:
|Monday June 1st||Newcastle|
|Tuesday June 2nd||Kempton, Newcastle|
|Wednesday June 3rd||Kempton, Yarmouth|
|Thursday June 4th||Newcastle, Newmarket|
|Friday June 5th||Lingfield, Newmarket|
|Saturday June 6th||Lingfield, Newmarket, Newcastle|
|Sunday June 7th||Haydock, Lingfield, Newmarket|
|Monday June 8th||Chelmsford, Haydock, Lingfield|
As you can see, British racing will tiptoe back into action on June 1 with a solitary meeting, but it won’t be long before we’re back up to three meetings per day with Newmarket, Lingfield and Kempton all on the menu.
With meetings in the north, south and the Midlands, there are some concerns about how jockeys and trainers will be moving from one racecourse to the next course, although at the time of rating there will be no regional restrictions put in place to prevent freedom of movement. It is also not yet known if horses from overseas will be allowed to compete.
So what will racing behind closed doors look like? Well, the BHA has confirmed that attendance on raceday will be limited to those involved in delivering the meeting – that suggests only jockeys, some yard staff and stewarding staff will be on site for the foreseeable future.
This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, according to the BHA’s statement, and the hope further down the line is that putters will be allowed to return to trackside in the autumn.
Prize Money Hit Prompts Levy Board Action
The major concern for the immediate future of racing is that prize money will be reduced, which may have an impact on the way in which the top yards go about their business in the next couple of months.
It has been confirmed that the prize kitty for Group 1 races will be cut by 50%, forcing the Horserace Betting Levy Board to step in and increase their contribution to the fund – upping their donation from £13.3 million to £16.4 million, which is an increase of 23%.
The hope is that might just tempt the leading trainers and owners to get their horses back out on the track, and the revenue will be vital at a time when betting shops remain closed in the UK – that causes a drop in media rights payments via their live streaming channel.
The return of horse racing has been met with joy by many – the hope is that the resumption goes without a hitch and paves the way for bigger and better things.