Racing returns: your guide to Monday’s card at Newcastle

Union and Jack Mitchell scoring at Newcastle

Racing returns after a 76-day absence on the all-weather at Newcastle with a ten-race card starting at 1.00. Only a maximum of 12 runners are permitted to contest each race due to social distancing regulations and the meeting kick starts with the aptly-named Betway Welcome Back British Racing Handicap. Six of the races are handicaps and the remaining four are novice races, for younger and unexposed horses most of whom are lacking experience.

How does racing work behind closed doors?

Horseracing in Britain is back but with a number of safety and security measures to prevent any risk of spreading coronavirus. A limited number of people are allowed on the course and those who do attend will be temperature screened on arrival.

If you’ve watched some of the French racing over the last few weeks you would’ve noticed plenty of face masks and PPE being worn.You can expect something similar in Britain for the next month at least.

Where can I follow the action?

The racing will be broadcast on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415) and is part of a blockbuster day of equine action, with the French Guineas also being run that afternoon at Longchamp. If you have a bet on the races, most firms will provide the option of watching the race for free on their website.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, ITV racing will return and they are to show 21 races across the three days.

Who are the trainers and jockeys to look out for?

John Gosden had a dazzling 42 per cent strike-rate with his runners at Newcastle last season and in previous years Enable and Stradivarius have gone to the north east to break their maiden. Gosden has plenty of ammunition to fire on the opening day.

Before the lockdown, Ben Curtis was the man to follow at Newcastle. He had a 31 per cent strike-rate with his mounts at the track so it is no surprise to see him well represented once again.

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