ace meetings at Newmarket and Ayr next month have been submitted to the government for possible use as trial days for the return of spectators, The Guardian understands. The Ayr Gold Cup meeting and the Cambridgeshire meeting, which both run for three days in the second half of September, have been put forward alongside St Leger week at Doncaster as racing seeks to organise a trial in place of the one that was cancelled at Goodwood recently.
Had the Goodwood trial taken place, a second one was envisaged for the Ebor meeting at York next week but those plans have since been abandoned. Whether any trials take place depends on the government’s sports department, Boris Johnson having delayed initial trials over fears of a rise in the number of Britain’s coronavirus cases.
The Racecourse Association declined to confirm which race-meetings were being considered for trials but its customer experience manager, Paul Swain, said: “We’re still working towards 1 October as the return of crowds and have heard nothing to suggest it won’t happen. We are engaging with DCMS, as we have done throughout the process, and been asked to put forward a series of potential pilots, which we have done.
“The racecourses have had to put forward risk assessments and operating plans to show how they can do it, similar to Goodwood. The Goodwood team have been great in helping us and the tracks put these plans together.”
A response from the government could come this week, with the two sides said to be in almost daily contact.
The ruling body of French racing has even more ambitious plans, as France-Galop is trying to persuade authorities to allow a crowd of 20,000 to attend the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on 4 October. Crowds of up to 5,000 have been permitted at French tracks for the past month and the attendance at Deauville on Sunday was said to be only marginally down on last year.
Speaking on Nick Luck’s podcast, France-Galop’s chief executive, Olivier Delloye, said vigorous lobbying was taking place, of the kind that had resulted in French racing resuming in May, three weeks before Britain. “If we just sit and wait for the local authorities to tell us, OK guys, you can welcome up to 15,000 or 20,000 people, it will never happen, of course.”
Tuesday’s horse racing tips
1.25 Will Sommers 1.55 I Am The Secret 2.25 Buniann 2.55 Legend Of Dubai 3.25 Velocity 3.55 First Greyed 4.25 Tacitly 4.55 Evening Spirit 5.30 Leoncavallo (nap)
1.40 Electric Blue 2.10 Boogie Time 2.40 Voodoo Whodoo 3.10 Sharrabang 3.40 Thumur (nb) 4.10 Canasta 4.40 Come On Bear 5.15 Global Acclamation 5.50 Giant Steps
3.50 Sarsaparilla 4.20 Praised 4.50 Ginger Box 5.25 Total Distraction 5.55 Volcano Bay 6.25 Tawtheef 6.55 Royal Dynasty 7.25 Radetsky 7.55 Letmestopyouthere
4.00 Zabeel Star 4.30 Petrastar 5.05 A Ladies Milan 5.40 Chocolat Noir 6.10 Raecius Felix 6.40 Great Colaci 7.10 Forecast 7.40 Fresh New Dawn 8.10 Headscarf Lil
Meanwhile, soaring temperatures forced the abandonment of a race during Southwell’s jump-racing card on Monday. Peaking at 28C, conditions were hotter than officials had expected at the Nottinghamshire track and the veterinary team queried whether it was safe to continue racing. After a stewards inquiry, it was decided to abandon a three-mile hurdle race but to allow the final two races to go ahead, as they were shorter and therefore deemed to pose less of a risk.