- Britain gets green light to return on Monday, June 1
- Racing becomes first sport to return to Britain after coronavirus lockdown
- Champion jockey Oisin Murphy to ride at Newcastle
Racing throughout the United Kingdom resumes today at Newcastle – marking the first major sport to return in Britain following the coronavirus lockdown.
British racing it’s finally back.
Racing was last held on March 17, when Wetherby and Taunton were both held behind closed doors before the government, in line with health officials, advised an immediate shutdown on the spot as COVID-19 spread rapidly throughout the country.
Racing still managed to outlast Britain’s the Premier League who played its last game on March 9, while Champions League has not been played since March 11.
Whilst the Premier League is set to officially re-launch for its final eight game of the season on June 17, Racing has received its tick of approval from the government to get proceedings underway on June 1.
In the North-East of the country, a stellar 10-card race boasts big names as they prepare for next weekends 2000 and 1000 Guineas, the first of the British Classics for the season.
369 horses were nominated before acceptances saw that figure dwindle to 120 before any late scratchings.
Newcastle’s Monday meeting will also be followed up by Kempton’s nine-card race on Wednesday.
As per the British Horseracing Authority’s policies for a safe return to racing, fields have been limited to a maximum of 12.
Strict social distancing measures will be required to be adhered to and only limited racing staff are permitted on track.
The British government gave the BHA the all clear to proceed on June 1.
“We’re all very passionate about racing and like the participants and anyone connected with the sport, we’ve all missed it,” BHA chief executive Nick Rust said.
“This is only the start of the beginning. We will need to work very hard as a sport to battle our way through the next six to 12 months, as our revenue streams are reduced compared to the model we were operating before the coronavirus.
“We are very, very proud that we are the first major professional sport that is back on the first possible day that we could have been back in line with the Government’s guidelines.”
Of the names making the trip to Newcastle are star trainers John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute while champion jockey Oisin Murphy will be in action along with the likes of Andrea Atzeni, Jim Crowley, and leading all-weather rider Ben Curtis.