RACING is set to resume in the UK at Newcastle on Monday 1st June if the betting exchanges are an accurate guide.
It is 4/11 that racing resumes on or before the first day of next month and if indeed Newcastle goes ahead, it will be the first race meeting in Britain in 76 days since Taunton and Wetherby staged meetings behind closed doors.
The meeting at Gosforth Park, the country’s furthest north all-weather track will be an afternoon affair, comprising eight races and starting at 1pm with a Class 6 0-65 handicap over a mile for 4yos and upwards.
Following a lot of work behind the scenes with the Resumption Of Racing Group, an eight-day programme of racing has been scheduled from 1st to 8th June with two meetings a day from 2nd to 5th June and then three meetings for the next three days.
There are many protocols and regulations which have been put in place. Races will be behind closed doors with each horse accompanied just by a trainer, a stable lad and jockey. Only 12 runners per race will be permitted and there will be no overnight stabling, so horses will have to go up and back in a day. There will also be 72 hour declarations initially to assist in the logistics of racing in these new circumstances.
There are various rules and regulations concerning testing of Covid-19 and social distancing for those who will be present on the racecourse in order to make racing as safe as possible for participants.
While owners will not be allowed to attend for the foreseeable future, the good news is for many owners that the minimum prize money values have been protected and indeed increased for lower grade races. So, while, Class One races face a reduction of 50% in minimum prize money values, Class Six races will see prize money at 123% of existing values. Class Five will see prize money at 120% while Class 4 will remain the same. This is very good news for owners of horses in bread and butter races which make up a large proportion of the racing calendar.
Of course, all of the above is subject to the Government allowing racing to go ahead on 1st June but at present all looks good for an “Howay the lads” start to racing a week on Monday. Dean Ivory and all trainers cannot wait to get their horses back on the track.