From famine to feast. Racing in Britain will return with a glut of big contests provided it gets the green light to resume on June 1.
Provisional plans revealed by the BHA on Wednesday revealed that the first two Classics of the year – the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas sponsored by Qipco - have been inked in for the end of the first week of action.
Twenty Listed or Group races have been planned for the first seven days with Royal Ascot following fast on their heels. All will be open to international runners.
And once the royal meeting is over, there will be a swift countdown to the Investec Derby and Oaks, which have been pencilled in for July 4.
The following days the Coral-Eclipse will be run – exclusively for four-year-olds and older if the Derby and Oaks can be staged the previous day.
However, the BHA reiterated that “the exact timetable for the resumption of racing will remain subject to agreement from Government and an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time” and warned “any changes to the timetable are likely to have an impact on the programme for Pattern and Listed races”.
A press release issued by them at 5.45pm read: "Following the UK government publishing a provisional timetable for the return of professional sport on Monday, the racing industry’s leaders continue to plan for a resumption of racing from 1 June.
“To this end, the BHA’s Flat Pattern Committee has today published an update to the programme of Pattern and Listed races for the first seven days of June to reflect this new provisional timetable.
“The plan remains to stage the 2000 and 1000 Guineas on 6 and 7 June respectively, with Royal Ascot on its scheduled dates from 16-20 June. There will be some changes to the order of races at Royal Ascot, which will be confirmed as soon as possible.
“In addition, the Derby and Oaks will be scheduled for Saturday 4 July, with the Eclipse moved back a day to the Sunday (5 July). Under these circumstances, the Eclipse would be restricted to four-years-old and upwards.
Enable won the Eclipse last year. This year she may not have three-year-olds to contend with if running in the race again
“The exact timetable for the resumption of racing will remain subject to agreement from government and an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time. Any changes to the timetable are likely to have an impact on the programme for Pattern and Listed races.”
It added: “A provisional race programme for the first seven days of non-Pattern races was released on 7 May, and we expect to publish further detail on this period, as well as a provisional race programme for the second seven day period, later this week.
“The aim remains to provide, as soon as possible, at least one Pattern or Listed opportunity covering the key distances for the different sections of the population for three-year-olds and up, with a suitable number of novice/conditions races for two-year-olds scheduled to ensure horses can have a chance to run prior to Royal Ascot. Pattern and Listed races will now also be open to international runners.
“We must emphasise that this provisional plan may still need to be adjusted according to when and under what circumstances racing is safely able to recommence.”
There has been no racing in Britain since March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost £1.7 million of bets have been matched on Betfair's "UK Racing To Resume On Or Before 1st June?" market. At 6.40pm on Wednesday, Yes was trading at 1.58 (about 4-7) and No was 2.6 (about 13-8).
Races to be run between 3 June and 4 June
Classic Trial (10f 3yo Group 3)
Snowdrop (8f 3+ f Listed)
Pavilion (6f 3yo Group 3)
Races to be run on Friday 5 June
Abernant (6f 3+ Group 3)
Brigadier Gerard (10f 4+ Group 3)
Paradise (8f 3+ Listed)
Lingfield Oaks Trial (11½f 3yo f Listed)
Lingfield Derby Trial (11½f 3yo cg Listed)
Coronation Cup (12f 4+ Group 1)
Races to be run on Saturday 6 June
2000 Guineas (8f 3yo cf Group 1)
Dahlia (10f 4+ f Group 2)
Palace House (5f 3+ Group 3)
Sagaro (16f 4+ Group 3)
Newmarket (10f 3yo cg Listed)
(Distance change of the Dahlia to 10f)
Races to be run on Sunday 7 June
1000 Guineas (8f 3yo f Group 1)
Pretty Polly (10f 3yo f Listed)
Buckhounds (12f 4+ Listed)
Cecil Frail (6f 3+ f Listed)
Spring Trophy (7f 3+ Group 3) Pinnacle (12f 4+ f Group 3)
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