The Racing Hub Round-up: the week’s top stories
The Racing Hub Round-up – your weekly briefing on racing’s top stories
Racing and Racecourses
The Dante and Musidora Stakes, usually run as trials for the Derby and Oaks, will now be run after this year’s classics, at York on 9 July.
It means the two races, for three-year-old colts and fillies respectively, coincide with Newmarket’s July festival and are due to be covered by ITV Racing.
Ruth Quinn, BHA director of international racing and racing development, said: “Due to the unprecedented circumstances there has been a lack of opportunities for young, inexperienced horses who would normally have taken in a race like the Dante or Musidora.
“In a way, they will be acting like the King Edward VII or Ribblesdale would usually in that they’re standalone Group races for those horses, with the King Edward VII and Ribblesdale being used [as part of the build-up] for Epsom horses this year.”
Other races being rescheduled are the Listed Marygate and National Stakes for two-year-olds; the Group 3 Henry II Stakes, which replaces the Listed Esher Stakes on the Coral-Eclipse card at Sandown on July 5; the Listed Further Flight Stakes, due to take place on 1 August; and the Listed King Charles II Stakes.
The 2020 running of Carlisle Bell, which has been run since 1599 will not take place.
Apprentice jockeys claiming 5lb will be able to ride from Monday 15 June, while 7lb claimers can return to race-riding a week later.
Maximum field sizes will increase from 12 to 14 from Monday 15 June, with heritage handicaps being allowed to have the normal number of runners or the maximum field sizes set by each racecourse.
Royal Ascot prize-money totals will be cut by more 55% from the intended levels.
All races will have £35,000 minimum prize money, instead of £95,000, with the eight Groups 1 races each carrying £250,000. In total, prize money will be £3,680,000 in contrast to the previously announced £8,095,000.
Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson said: “This was set to be a landmark year for Royal Ascot prize-money. However, these unprecedented times have intervened.
“Some 70% of our annual income comes from public admissions, including hospitality, and producing in excess of £3.5m in prize-money in the current circumstances would not have been possible without the support and commitment of our official partners Qipco and Longines.”
The Professional Jockeys Association’s chairman, Nigel Payne, is retiring from the post at the end of the month, having been in the post for eight years. During his tenure the Association has benefitted from a number of initiatives including non-runner fees for jockeys, flexible suspensions, greater commercial revenue, and changes to apprentice and conditional jockey pay.
Payne said: “I joined the PJA shortly after Paul Struthers became chief executive and together, we have taken great strides in strengthening the Association and its standing in the industry.
“I have seldom enjoyed a role more and I have been very proud to represent our jockeys at the various industry committees and forums over the years. It has been a true privilege and I have made many friends among the jockey ranks and look forward to continuing those friendships.”
The Lir Jet, 8/1 with Paddy Power for the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot next week, has been purchased by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani from Nick Bell, son of trainer to Michael Bell, who bought the horse for £8,000 last August.
The horse broke the Yarmouth five-furlong track record last week on his debut, winning by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Gordon Lord Byron, winner of three Group 1 races, died after collapsing during a routine piece of work on the gallops, aged 12.
Bought for €2,000 as a foal and winning races at the highest level on two different continents, he was scheduled to return to the racecourse this weekend for trainer Tom Hogan.
Media and Marketing
The Racing Post staff were informed over the weekend of a round of job cuts. A communication from Spotlight Sports Group, owners of the Post, said:
“Like many other companies, the Group is responding to the changed circumstances and loss of revenue resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Changes such as a diminished racing and sporting programme and the economic downturn mean Spotlight Sports Group needs to reorganise to safeguard the future of the business and as many of its employees as possible.
“The Group is determined that the quality of its content and products will not be compromised and is looking at every significant non-staff item of expenditure to try to minimise the number of job losses, but the reality is that it can no longer sustain the workforce it employed before the advent of coronavirus.”
♦ Of Course column on Racing Post job cuts http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-46c
ITV’s viewing figures for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas were almost double on last year, with a peak audience rising to from 749,000 to 1,453,000. The average number of viewers was 975,000, up from 504,000 in 2019.
The coverage, with presenters such as Ed Chamberlain (pictured) braodcasting from home, achieved a 10.4% share of the viewing audience, compared to last year’s 6.6%.
More than one million viewers watched Sunday’s 1000 Guineas compared to 653,000 in 2019, with an average of viewers at 796,000 up from last year’s 404,000. The audience share was 8.3% against 4.6%.
The first day of the three-day coverage last Friday, featuring the Coronation Cup Friday’s card, had a peak audience over 500,000 and averaged in the region 400,000, around double the number usually achieved for a weekday afternoon on ITV4
This weekend’s ITV Racing schedule includes racing in Britain and Ireland:
Friday 12 June, ITV4, 16:30-19:00
- Newbury: 16:55 It’s Not Rocket Science with MansionBet Handicap Stakes, 17:25 MansionBet’s Royal Ascot Special Handicap Stakes, 17:50 Watch and Bet with MansionBet at Newbury Handicap Stakes, 18:25 MansionBet’s Beaten by a Head Handicap Stakes
- Curragh: 16:40 EBF Maiden Stakes17:10 Equine MediRecord Handicap, 17:40 Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Handicap, 18:10 Gallinule Stakes (Group 3), 18:40 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas (Group 1)
Saturday 13 June, ITV4, 13:30-16:00pm
- Newbury: 13:50 It’s Not Rocket Science with MansionBet Handicap Stakes, 14:25 MansionBet’s Royal Ascot Special Maggie Dickson Fillies’ Stakes (Listed Race), 15:00 Watch and Bet with MansionBet at Newbury Ebf Abingdon Fillies’ Stakes, 15:35 MansionBet’s Beaten By a Head Diomed Stakes (Group 3)
- Sandown Park: 14:05 The Sutton Handicap Stakes, 14:40 The Scurry Stakes (Listed Race). 15:15 The Claygate Handicap Stakes
Sunday 14 June, ITV4, 13:30 – 16:30pm
- Goodwood: 13:45 The Boxgrove Handicap Stakes, 14:20 The British Stallion Studs Ebf Cathedral Stakes (Listed Race), 15:25 The Emsworth Handicap Stakes, 15:55 The Ebf Cocked Hat Stakes (Listed Race)
- Doncaster: 14:00 The Bawtry Handicap Stakes, 14:35 The Achilles Stakes (Listed Race, )15:10 The Dearne Handicap Stakes, 15:40 The Grand Cup Stakes (Listed Race)
- Leopardstown: 15:00 Saval Beg Stakes (Listed), 16:10 Noblesse Stakes (Listed)
Betting and Bookmakers
Irish betting shops were allowed to open on Monday to coincide with the resumption of Irish racing. However, most shops will not reopen until Monday coming.
The earlier than expected opening came after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (pictured) announced that all retail outlets, as opposed to just smaller premises, were permitted to resume trading.
“The shops that are reopening will be required to operate staggered hours opening no earlier than 10.30am and allocating dedicated time for the elderly, vulnerable and at risk,” said Varadkar.
bet365 has announced that it is to stop taking telephone bets.