Royal Ascot pencilled in to take place in between rescheduled Guineas and Derby meetings in best case scenario
RACING chiefs have pencilled in a hectic June to get the sport back up and running in a best case scenario.
The Guineas, Royal Ascot and the Derby could all be held in a four week period as the BHA attempts to keep the fixture list intact as much as possible.
The Racing Resumption Group wants to keep Ascot in its traditional mid-June slot, with the Guineas and Derby either side.
With the sport hopeful of a resumption sometime in late May, there is a short time period where Classic and Ascot trials could be crammed in too.
These will all take place behind closed doors and unlikely to be at the courses they are normally run at.
It will provide sport-starved punters with a racing bonanza once the nod is given, but there are still significant hurdles that remain in place.
A letter sent to trainers stated this was only a ‘best case scenario’ and read: “It’s important to emphasise that while these plans are being formulated with a view to recommencing racing at the earliest opportunity, the timing of this decision will be dependent on an easing of government restrictions.
"By planning effectively now, we can demonstrate the sport has a coordinated and practicable strategy for resumption; one that is deliverable and mitigates risk.”
It’s clear the BHA are prioritising the top level of the sport, a decision that may prove controversial with those already struggling financially.
The letter added: “We will of course be looking to ensure that our best horses have suitable opportunities to develop and to demonstrate the best of their ability within an appropriate and meaningful structure of races, but this will require the cooperation, flexibility and mutual understanding of many parties."
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With no punters allowed on track and betting shops padlocked, there will be a major hit to prize money with a probable limit on fixture numbers too.
The number of meetings will also depend on which tracks can meet the criteria to race safely behind closed doors.
Field sizes could also be squeezed due to social distancing, meaning the fight to get into oversubscribed races will be even tougher. Apprentice races will also be scrapped for the early part of the season.
Jumps racing meanwhile is still hoping to get the green light from July 1.
Trainers have been contacted and the programme for summer jumping is likely to be largely unaffected in the long run.
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