British racing working towards June return

Billesdon Brook wins the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket

British racing’s leaders have said they are committed to planning to return to action from June 1 following the latest guidelines from the government.

The bad news for racing was that the government has confirmed professional sport, even behind closed doors, will not be staged in England in May and not until the start of June at the earliest.

The BHA, along with racecourses, owners and trainers’ bodies, said they would issue a timeline within a week outlining what the sport would do to meet the date outlined by the government.

The second stage of the government’s plan for easing the coronavirus lockdown would permit sports taking place behind closed doors from June 1.

However, much will depend on how much progress has been made in controlling the virus and there could still be a delay in lifting restrictions.

The BHA has already published plans for the running of a number of major races, but that schedule will have to be adjusted following the government’s announcement.

They had hoped to run a number of high-profile races over the final two weekends of May before the first Classics of the season, the Qipco 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas, on the first weekend in June.

Derby in July

The Jockey Club has requested special dispensation from the Epsom and Ewell Council to run the Investec Derby and Oaks on July 4 and officials are set to discuss the plans this week.

Last month Ascot announced that its royal meeting, which is scheduled to take place between June 16 and 20, would not be cancelled but run behind closed doors if it was able to go ahead.

A provisional race programme for the first seven days of fixtures behind closed doors has also been drawn up, which will be divided regionally.

However, there does seem to be much hope of racing with spectators taking place in the near future.

The government has said the reopening of venues that attract large crowds “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections”.

Racing has already resumed in Europe with Germany restarting earlier this month and action returning in France on Monday.

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