IRISH RACE FIXTURES ANNOUNCED FOR REST OF 2020
4 June 2020: A week’s extension to the Flat turf season and an increase of five in the number of fixtures scheduled at Dundalk in November are among the changes to the fixture list announced by HRI for the remainder of 2020, with a new schedule published for August through to December.
Following the previously announced June and July schedules, which featured nine extra race meetings, a further 39 will be added in the last five months. This will restore 48 of the 87 fixtures that were lost between the end of March and next Monday’s resumption of racing at Naas. The total number of fixtures now scheduled for 2020 will be 331 compared to the original allocation of 370 for the year. There will be an increase to the number of fixtures every month with September seeing an extra 11 meetings compared to the original fixture list, and 10 additional fixtures set for October.
The Flat turf season is extended by a week and will now end at Naas on Saturday 7 November. There are also two extra meetings at the Curragh in the final week of the 2020 Flat turf season, while extra Flat opportunities will be provided in November with the five Dundalk fixtures lost earlier in the year all being added back into that month. There will be three all-weather meetings (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) in each of the three weeks after the end of the Flat turf season, meaning that the overall number of Flat fixtures in November doubles from seven to 14.
Jason Morris, HRI’s Director of Racing, said: “We have worked closely with all racecourses to develop a fixture list for the remainder of 2020 which is appropriate for both the horse population and each individual track, and we are very grateful for the excellent co-operation received from racecourse managers. We have spread the additional opportunities throughout the year and over both codes to reflect the meetings that were lost over the March to June period. By significantly expanding the number of Flat opportunities in November, including an extra week of turf racing, we are elongating the season in recognition of the severely delayed start experienced by owners, trainers and jockeys.
“All fixtures which were due to be staged from the start of July onwards have been retained with no track foregoing any of their meetings although some have changed dates. The meeting at Laytown on September 1 will be kept under review to determine, based on the government guidance that will apply at the time, whether it is possible to implement the necessary protocols at the beach venue.
“Race meetings are all single code to minimise the number of people working at the racecourse with the possible sole exception of the Listowel Festival. Depending upon social distancing requirements and potential crowd limitations in late September, Listowel could host mixed cards on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of their seven-day Festival. If this is not possible, there will be five all-National Hunt days, with Flat racing on the Monday and Thursday.
“HRI has agreed to a request from Punchestown to stage one Flat meeting (on September 3) which will be subject to satisfactory trial gallops being staged over the proposed track layout in advance of the fixture. Punchestown’s other six re-instated fixtures will all remain National Hunt.”
♦ Click here for 202i Irish fixtures https://www.goracing.ie/fixture-list/
MORE FIXTURES SET FOR JUNE AND JULY
2 June: Nine additional fixtures across June and July have been announced by the BHA.
The fixtures have also been programmed to provide more depth to offer increased opportunities for horses rated in the 50s and high 40s and to provide more depth to the overall race programme. The additional fixtures are:
10 June – Wolverhampton
11 June – Newbury
15 June – Kempton Park
16 June – Chelmsford City
30 June – Leicester
2 July – Catterick Bridge
6 July – Thirsk
13 July – Ayr
14 July – Ripon
PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME FOR SCOTTISH RACING ISSUED
29 May: Scottish Racing has confirmed that it is making plans for the resumption of racing behind closed doors on Monday 22 June, in accordance with the Scottish Government’s route map for exiting lockdown.
Discussions are taking place between Scottish Racing and the Scottish Government to support these provisional fixtures, during Phase 2 of public health restrictions.
Meanwhile, the full list of Scottish fixtures is as follows:
22/06/2020 Ayr (Flat)
24/06/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
28/06/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
30/06/2020 Musselburgh (Flat)
01/07/2020 Musselburgh (Flat)
03/07/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
06/07/2020 Ayr (Flat)
10/07/2020 Musselburgh (Flat)
12/07/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
14/07/2020 Ayr (Flat)
16/07/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
20/07/2020 Ayr (Flat)
21/07/2020 Perth (Jump)
28/07/2020 Ayr (Flat)
30/07/2020 Musselburgh (Flat)
01/08/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
05/08/2020 Ayr (Flat)
07/08/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
11/08/2020 Perth (Jump)
13/08/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
24/08/2020 Ayr (Flat)
26/08/2020 Musselburgh (Flat)
28/08/2020 Hamilton Park (Flat)
30/08/2020 Perth (Jump)
TOTE 10 TO FOLLOW FOR THE FLAT SET TO LAUNCH
29 May: The Flat 2020 Tote 10 To Follow competition is set to launch tomorrow with a prize fund of £100,000. The competition, run in association with the Racing Post, will have a deadline of 16 June for entries. As with the Jumps 2019/20 competition, entries will cost £5 per stable.
FLUTTER SEEK £850m FROM SHAREHOLDERS
29 May: Flutter Entertainment, the gaming operator which owns Betfair, Paddy Power and Sky Bet, is seeking £850m cash from institutional investors by placing eight million shares with shareholders.
The purpose of the share placing, which was announced after the stock market ended trading yesterday, is to raise funds to strengthen the company’s balance sheet against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The gambling sector has taken a hit since the cancelation of live sporting events.
The share offering is not going to be made available to small investors, who will see their existing shareholdings become diluted.
It is intended that the money raised through the share issue will be used to reduce debt incurred when it merged with the Canadian Stars Group which owned the Sky Bet brand. It will also assist in potential expansion in the US.
THREE BUMPER DAYS FOR ITV RACING
28 May: ITV will show 21 races across three days from Friday 5 June to Sunday 7 June, including three Group 1 races and six Group 2 or 2 contests.
Presented by Ed Chamberlain from his home, and Richard Hoiles commentating remotely, the coverage’s highlights include the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket (transferred from Epsom), and the Derby and Oaks Trials at Lingfield, on 5 June, before Saturday’s 2000 Guineas. On Sunday 7 June the day’s racing is led by the 1000 Guineas.
The Opening Show will return to ITV4 on Saturday morning at 9.30
Full ITV Racing schedule from Friday 5 June to Sunday 7 June
- Friday 5 June ITV4
1.50 Race Five Handicap
2.25 Abernant Stakes (Group 3)
3.00 Paradise Stakes (Listed)
3.35 Coronation Cup (Group 1)
2.05 East Grinstead Handicap
2.40 Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes (Listed)
3.15 Derby Trial Stakes (Listed)
- Saturday 6 June ITV
1.50 Palace House Stakes (Group 3)
2.25 Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes (Group 2)
3.00 Newmarket Stakes (Listed)
3.35 Qipco 2,000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1)
2.05 Washington Handicap
2.40 Sagaro Stakes (Group 3)
3.15 New Harrington Handicap
- Sunday 7 June ITV
1.50 Buckhounds Stakes (Listed)
2.25 Barrow Handicap
3.00 EBF Pretty Polly Fillies’ Stakes (Listed)
3.35 Qipco 1,000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1)
2.05 Pinnacle Stakes (Group 3)
2.40 Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Group 3)
3.15 Spring Trophy Stakes (Listed)
BETTING BRANDS CEASE TRADING AFTER CUSTOMER SUICIDE
28 May: A Gambling Commission investigation, which arose following a customer’s suicide, into PT Entertainment Services (PTES), whose parent company is Playtech, and who traded as www.winner.co.uk and titanbet.co.uk, uncovered systemic failures in player protection. Both www.winner.co.uk and titanbet.co.uk have ceased trading.
In March 2019 the regulator began an investigation after being contacted by the family of a man who tragically took his own life in April 2017 aged 25. Although PTES surrendered its licence during the investigation the Commission decided that it was in the public interest to complete the investigation and publish its findings.
The Commission’s investigation identified serious systemic failings in the way PTES managed its social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes. In relation to the young man in question, the Commission concluded that the operator failed to carry out any responsible gambling customer interactions even though it was aware that several of his debit card transactions had been declined.
PTES also provided him with VIP status without verifying that he could afford to spend the amounts of money he was playing with – all of which are serious and unacceptable failings.
The investigation also revealed more general failings in the way PTES interacted with its highest spending customers. If the licence had not been surrendered the Commission would have imposed a £3.5m penalty and considered whether other sanctions were appropriate.
The Commission is continuing to investigate the role played by key individuals at PTES who still hold personal licences and will take any appropriate action following completion of further investigations.
Prior to surrender of its operating licence, PTES made a number of settlement offers which the Commission regarded as seriously deficient. PTES proceeded to donate £619,395, the amount it proposed as a regulatory settlement offer on 30 October 2019, to charity in furtherance of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Parent company Playtech has also pledged to donate a total of £5m to mental health and gambling-related harm charities over the next five years as part of its strategy to promote better online health.
Neil McArthur, the Commission’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a tragic case which came to light after I was contacted by the family of the young man who very sadly took his own life. I want to thank them for their bravery in bringing his case to our attention and we are grateful for the way they have worked with us in such terrible circumstances so that we could understand what happened.”
“Although PTES has ceased trading, we decided to complete our investigation and publish our findings, as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators.’
“This case – like so many others we have seen – illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly. We will shortly be opening a consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and incentivise high value customers.’’
IRISH RACING GETS TV BOOST
26 May: Irish racing will return next month to increased coverage on RTÉ television with confirmation of a series of new one-hour evening programmes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in June and early July.
In an announcement that will see live terrestrial coverage of Irish racing on eight of the first 20 days following the resumption of racing in Ireland on 8 June, live RTÉ coverage returns for the first Classics of the Flat racing season at the Curragh, the Irish 2000 Guineas on June 12 and the Irish 1000 Guineas on June 13.
And outside of the traditional Classics weekend coverage, RTÉ will broadcast new hour-long evening programmes on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on consecutive Friday, Saturday and Sundays, with ten extra meetings confirmed up to mid-July.
Hugh Cahill will present the new run of live coverage with guest analysts joining regulars Jane Mangan, Ted Walsh and Ruby Walsh.
The new programmes will run from 7-8pm on Friday evenings and 5-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and will have two live races with previews and analysis, interviews from the track, as well as replays from action earlier that evening.
All of RTÉ Sport’s racing coverage will comply with Horse Racing Ireland’s Covid-19 protocols around social distancing for behind closed doors meetings.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said:
“RTÉ has always been very supportive of racing in Ireland and today’s announcement confirms that commitment. The new one-hour evening programmes are an opportunity for Irish racing to attract people to our sport and educate those new fans on what makes racing so exciting.
“We appreciate the flexibility shown by the RTÉ team around the new dates for the Irish Guineas in June and really look forward to their live coverage of our opening Classics, as well as this new departure.”
Group Head of Sport at RTÉ, Decan McBennett, said:
“Live Sport is an integral part of Irish life and RTÉ Sport is delighted that it is returning across all RTÉ platforms. For everything that it brings in terms of physical exercise, mental wellbeing, social and community cohesion and economic stimulation the benefit of sport will again be appreciated by all. Horse Racing in this country is a key component of that and Horse Racing Ireland are to be commended for getting racing back in a safe and responsible manner.”
RTÉ Racing in June on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player –
Friday 12 June, Curragh
Saturday 13 June, Curragh
Friday 19 June, Gowran Park
Saturday 20 June, Naas
Sunday 21 June, Leopardstown
Friday June 26 – Curragh
Saturday June 27 – Curragh (The Irish Derby)
Sunday June 28 – Curragh
RACING ISSUES GUIDELINES TO GET GOVERNMENT APPROVAL FOR THE SPORT’S RETURN
24 May: The technical guidelines for racing’s participants and staff to follow so that the sport can receive government approval to resume safely behind closed doors have been issued by the British Horseracing Authority. The main requirements of the guidelines are:
- Racecourse attendance will be kept to a bare minimum, with farriers, medical staff, stalls handlers, stewards and vets all deemed essential, whilst trainers, plus one groom per horse, will be allowed racecourse attendance
- Two reporters (drawn from the Press Association and the Racing Post) will be allowed, as will two photographers
- Owners will not be allowed racecourse entry, and there will be no bookmakers
- There will be screenings for everyone prior to racecourse entry, and anyone with a temperature above 37.8C will be refused access
- All saddles and jockey’s equipment must be disinfected on arrival, whilst horseboxes must be disinfected before and after each journey
- Horsebox drivers will either have to stay with their vehicles or use a designated rest area.
- Anyone likely to be in a situation which breaches social distancing rules will be required to wear a safety mask and, as well as anyone entering the parade ring, this applies to jockeys, stable staff and stalls handlers – the BHA have obtained supplies of safety masks
- Jockeys’ changing rooms will be reconfigured to meet with social distancing rules, and saunas and showers will not be available
- Only bottled water will available by way of refreshment
Racing’s resumption is conditional upon the government agreeing that restrictions can be eased further as part of Step Two of its coronavirus recovery strategy, which includes the return of professional sport and other cultural events. The first race meeting is scheduled for 1 June. The guidelines require participants to take action in preparation for attending meetings.
The BHA has worked with racecourses and representatives of trainers, jockeys and staff to adapt a normal race meeting, provide medical screening for all attendees in advance and maintain social distancing.
The guidelines have been developed in consultation with officials from Public Health England and a group of cross-sport Chief Medical Officers, and drawn up under the direction of the BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Jerry Hill. They are aligned with the government guidance for the return of elite sports published so far but can be adapted if required by subsequent guidance.
The key principle is to act in line with government policy to protect those working and competing at race-meetings, and to reassure the wider community that the risks of spreading corona virus have been kept to a minimum.
Race meetings without the public are an important stage in a full return to work for the racing industry which, says the BHA, is worth more than £4 billion annually for the economy, much of which is generated in rural areas. Some 20,000 staff are directly employed, with tens of thousands more working in jobs that depend on racing.
British racing remains in direct discussion with the devolved Governments regarding timescales for a potential resumption in Scotland and Wales.
The BHA and Dr Hill have carried out a detailed assessment of the risks from returning over several weeks. The background risks for a horseracing event without the public are considered to be low:
- It is a non-contact sport in which social distancing can be maintained in most situations
- It takes place out of doors where the risks of virus transmission are recognised to be lower
- Most of those attending live in rural areas where the incidence of COVID-19 is generally lower
- Training of horses has continued: staff and riders have already adapted to social distancing
- Most attending will do so in private vehicles and are not reliant on public transport
Through its resumption plans, the BHA say British racing will ensure that:
- It will act in line with government policy to protect those coming back to work and minimise the risk of spreading the virus
- For those working at an event, including officials, racecourse staff and participants, the implementation of the guidelines ensures that racing will take place in a more controlled environment than most day-to-day activities
This will be achieved through a combination of:
- Efficient, repeated, targeted medical screening to ensure as much as possible that everyone who is on a racecourse is safe to be on that racecourse
- Detailed guidance and protocols around managing a race day safely and mitigating the risks of the transmission of corona virus
- Education to support behaviour changes, alongside sanctions if appropriate and necessary
Racing will liaise with NHS Providers in order to reduce the use of any medical or NHS services to a minimum, acting responsibly by using other healthcare resources – private ambulances, hospitals and medics – to protect the NHS.
The guidelines will be updated and adapted to remain in line with government policy and will be kept under constant review to ensure any learnings from resumption are identified and included.
The BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, said
“Racing has been able to develop its guidelines based on our experience of operating bio-secure environments to control the spread of infection in horses, and a robust approach to regulation and enforcing the rules.
“Our trainers, jockeys and staff carry out their roles in a highly disciplined way because working with horses always carries risks. I am very confident they will adapt quickly to this new set of measures designed to protect them from transmission of the virus.”
BRITISH FIXTURES TO END-AUGUST PUBLISHED
22 May: The BHA had published a provisional fixture list covering the period 9 June to the end of August. Many fixtures, including Glorious Goodwood and The York Ebor meetings, remain unchanged from the original schedule.
In addition, fixtures in Scotland and Wales have been provisionally scheduled (denoted by TBC in the provisional fixture list, see below) but will only be confirmed following further consultation with the relevant Governments on timescales for potential resumption. The BHA remains in direct discussion with both the Scottish and Welsh Governmen.
The BHA have also been working to develop a full race programme for the remainder of June, which will be published on Monday 25 May. This will include the date, location and conditions of all races scheduled for 9-30 June.
It had been originally hoped to complete and publish the June race programme this week, however with elements of this still to be finalised, doing so would have provided racecourses and participants with an incomplete picture of how the provisional programme will look – and one that would in all likelihood need to be amended subsequent to publication.
However, the BHA can confirm that the race programme will include additional 2yo races for the first eight days following resumption. In addition, they will start prioritising three-year-old novice and maiden races towards the middle of the second week (w/c 9 June).
RACE CONDITIONS AND PROTOCOLS UPDATED
22 May: Further to the earlier announcement of the Royal Ascot 2020 scheduled, which will include extra races and with every race having a maximum number of 24 runners, the BHA has stated that elimination from Royal Ascot races for two-year-olds will be based purely on previous finishing positions, with priority given in the following order:
- Horses that have won an Open Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have won a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have finished second in an Open Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have finished second in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have finished third in an Open Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have finished third in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have finished fourth in an Open Novice or Maiden race
- Horses that have finished fourth in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
- Unraced horses
- Horses that have run but have not been placed in the first four
Other important points to help with planning have been issued, some of which have already been included in earlier BHA updates, and other that have been finalised over the past few days.
- 72-hour declarations
These will be in place for all races from 1 June until further notice. This will ensure all participants are able to complete the necessary preparatory steps between declaration and attendance at the racecourse, including the compulsory pre-entry health screening (details of which will be communicated to the industry in the coming days). The BHA appreciates that the use of 72-hour declarations will create additional challenges for trainers and will revert to 48-hour declarations once it is clear this is viable.
- Field sizes – the following will apply:
All non-Pattern and Listed races will be limited to 12 runners per race. This reflects risk modelling that indicates that field sizes of 12 or fewer in non-Pattern and Listed races reduces the risk to participants on the track. Even though more races have been programmed at each fixture than would normally be the case, it is recognised that this will increase competition for places. This will be reviewed at the end of the first week of racing.
Pattern and Listed races will not be limited to 12 runners. These races will be subject to the existing maximum field size limits, or any other limit imposed by the racecourse at which the races are to be held. Again, this decision is based on risk modelling, which indicates that Pattern and Listed races are less likely to involve an incident.
- Handicapping – with the start of the season being delayed, the BHA will help more horses become eligible for a handicap rating after two runs.
A horse will be eligible for a handicap rating if it (i) finishes in the first six places on both of its first two starts, or (ii) has completed two starts having won first time out. It is also confirmed that the handicap rating for any horse that has, as a result of either of these changes, become eligible to be rated, will be published within the ‘Official Ratings’ section of the BHA website.
In addition, the current rules state that in order to run in a handicap with a Total Race Value of £45,000 or more, a horse must have run at least three times. Given the lack of opportunity for a 3yo to have a third run this year before some such handicaps take place, this rule will not be enforced until 1 July. This means that relaxation of the qualification rules outlined above will now also apply to high value handicaps until the end of June.
- British-based horses
There will be no regional restrictions in place for British-based horses on resumption. However, the revised fixture list provides a good geographical spread of fixtures to maximise opportunities for horses across the country.
- International runners
There will only be permitted to run initially in the three Group 1 races taking place in Britain during the first fortnight (Coronation Cup, 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas). Under current planning, international runners will be able to participate in all Pattern and Listed races taking place in Britain from 15 June 2020 onwards. The BHA is also assessing the implications of this evening’s announcement from the UK Government on quarantine measures for international travellers to the UK from 8 June. Further guidance will be issued in due course.
- Overnight accommodation at racecourses
Overnight accommodation will not be available at ANY racecourse for staff or horses from 1 June and until further notice.
- Jump racing
The provisional fixture list includes Jump racing from 1 July. As confirmed previously, the BHA will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until 30 November.
EXTRA RACES SCHEDULED FOR ROYAL ASCOT 2020
22 May: Six additional races are to be run at Royal Ascot this year, which incldue three new races as a one-off. The running of the two-year old races is scheduled for the end of the five-day meeting and each day will comprise a seven-race card excepting Saturday which will see eight races.
The three new races are:
- 1m6f Copper Horse Handicap for four-year-olds and up
- 1m2f Golden Gates Handicap for three-year-olds
- 5f Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap for three-year-olds
Consolation races will be held for the Royal Hunt Cup and Wokingham.
The 7f Buckingham Palace Handicap returns for 2020 having been dropped for the introduction of the Commonwealth Cup. It will be the first race on the first day, replacing the Queen Anne Stakes.
All races will be restricted to a maximum of 24 runners.
The fully Royal Ascot Order of Running:
Tuesday – first race 1.15pm
- Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f, 3yo+)
- Queen Anne Stakes (1m, Group One, 4yo+) ITV
- Ribblesdale Stakes (1½m, Group Two, 3yo fillies) ITV
- King Edward VII Stakes (1½m, Group Two, 3yo colts and geldings) ITV
- King’s Stand Stakes (5f, Group One, 3yo+) ITV
- Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group Two, 4yo+ fillies and mares) ITV
- Ascot Stakes Handicap (2½m, 4yo+) ITV
Wednesday – first race 1.15pm
- Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
- Hampton Court Stakes (10f, Group Three, 3yo) ITV
- King George V Handicap (1½m, 3yo) ITV
- Prince of Wales’s Stakes (10f, Group One, 4yo+) ITV
- Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+) ITV
- Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo) ITV
- Copper Horse Handicap (1¾m, 4yo+) ITV
Thursday – first race 1.15pm
- Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo)
- Wolferton Stakes (10f, Listed, 4yo+) ITV
- Jersey Stakes (7f, Group Three, 3yo) ITV
- Chesham Stakes (7f, Listed, 2yo) ITV
- Gold Cup (2½m, Group One, 4yo+)ITV
- Britannia Handicap (1m, 3yo colts and geldings) ITV
- Sandringham Handicap (1m, 3yo, fillies) ITV
Friday – first race 1.15pm
- Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)
- Albany Stakes (6f, Group Three, 2yo fillies) ITV
- Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo) ITV
- Hardwicke Stakes (1½m, Group Two, 4yo+) ITV
- Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group One, 3yo colts and fillies) ITV
- Queen’s Vase (1¾m, Group Two, 3yo) ITV
- Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1½m, 3yo+) ITV
Saturday – first race 12.40pm
- Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
- Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo fillies)
- Coronation Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo fillies) ITV
- Coventry Stakes (6f, Group Two, 2yo) ITV
- St James’s Palace Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo colts) ITV
- Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, Group One, 4yo+) ITV
- Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+) ITV
- Queen Alexandra Stakes (2¾m, Conditions, 4yo+) ITV
♦ Of Course comment on the Royal Ascot schedule http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3XK
IRISH FIXTURES FOR JUNE AND JULY CONFIRMED, INCLUDING GALWAY FESTIVAL
21 May: Horse Racing Ireland has released the full Flat programme for the month of June and the fixture list for July, including details of the Galway festival which will be run on its original dates.
Irish racing returns behind closed doors with strict new HRI protocols in place at Naas on 8 June. The revised fixture list for July features 47 meetings, three more than in the original schedule. In recognition of the increased workload, there will now be three days (up from two) on which no racing takes place during the month.
Jason Morris, HRI’s Director of Racing, said: “We recognise that there will be a large demand for opportunities to run and our aim is to provide all Flat horses with their first run as quickly as possible following the resumption of racing by offering a balanced programme across all age groups, distances and categories. There will be 53 Flat meetings up to the end of July with this objective in mind.
“There will also be 22 National Hunt fixtures programmed between 22 June and the end of July, compared to the equivalent of 17 meetings in the same period last year, to cater for the demands of the jumps horse population.
“There will be eight-race cards run at every opportunity where stable capacity allows, with the protocols requiring one stable per horse for hygiene reasons.”
The Galway festival is being maintained as a seven-day event but there are significant changes to the traditional race programme. The opening two days will host Flat races only while the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday fixtures will be all National Hunt. The meeting will conclude, in the first two days of August, with two all-Flat cards. The Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle will be run on the Wednesday and Thursday as normal.
The number of racedays at Killarney in July has been reduced from five to three which will be stand-alone fixtures on Tuesday 7 July , Monday 13 July and Wednesday 15 July. The two lost days will be rescheduled later in the year.
Racing will resume at Cork Racecourse which will host four fixtures, beginning with an all-Flat card on Sunday 5 July. Bellewstown will stage three non-consecutive days in July, while two extra fixtures will be held at the Curragh on Friday 10 July and Sunday 26 July, the latter featuring the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
All race meetings will be a single code with no mixed meetings to minimise the number of people working at the racecourse on each day. Many cards have been programmed with the possibility of a divide included to respond as effectively as possible to the demands of the horse population.
Afternoon and evening designations have been provided for fixtures but may be subject to change in a small number of cases.
♦ Click to see the fixtures
NEW INITIATIVES PLANNED FOR IRISH RACECOURSE TV COVERAGE
20 May: New initiatives in the television coverage on Irish racecourses are planned after Horse Racing Ireland announced that IRIS, a family run business based in Bartlemy, County Cork, has been awarded the contract for the provision of televised services to Irish horse racing.
The use of raceday tracking cameras and drone cameras, which aim to enhance the viewing experience, are part of an initial four-year deal, running until May 2024, with an option to extend on an annual basis up to a maximum of 10 years.
The contract covers a number of roles on each of Ireland’s 26 racecourses, including supplying raceday integrity services to the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, racecourse CCTV and providing race coverage to Sports Information Services (SIS) and Racing TV as well as working alongside terrestrial broadcasters.
Bart Arnold, Managing Director of IRIS, said:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity of continuing to support Horse Racing Ireland and the Association of Irish Racecourses in the provision of televised services to Irish horse racing. There are several new technologies being introduced which will create innovative ways of viewing, entertaining and informing racing fans around the world. The new arrangements will see the introduction of best in class facilities for the raceday Stewards, enhancing the integrity of Irish Horseracing into the future. A superb team of people are in the background, delivering a quality service with professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm.”
IRISH RACING TO RUN FULL PROGRAMME OF GROUP RACES
20 May: Horse Racing Ireland has published a revised list of Group races, Listed races and Premier Handicaps for the Covid 19 impacted 2020 Flat racing season which includes an important change to the conditions of the Tattersalls Gold Cup. These are the most significant races which are pivotal to the breeding industry and sales catalogues.
The Tattersalls Gold Cup will now be run at the end of July and will offer a new Group 1 opportunity for horses aged three-years-old and up over 10 furlongs, filling a significant gap in the revised Pattern.
The publication confirms that the full complement of Group races will be run through the year given their importance to the Irish breeding industry.
Racing resumes in Ireland behind closed doors on 8 June having missed 87 fixtures since 24 March, and Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “The revised list of Pattern races published today will see the many of them run on their original dates and under their typical conditions, though inevitably some have had date, race conditions and even venue changes to allow them fit into the new schedule.
“Apart from the three Group 1 races normally run on Guineas weekend, all other Group 1 races in Ireland will be run on their originally scheduled dates and venues.
“The two-year-old Group race programme will start about six weeks later than normal, in early July, but again the full complement of opportunities will be run between then and season end.
“2020 will be anything but a normal year, but in the circumstances, we have tried to preserve the opportunities which the Irish race programme offers to the better horse.”
♦ The 2020 revised programme of pattern, listed and premier nurseries and handicaps can be found here
IRISH RACING TO RESUME AT NAAS
17 May: Irish racing will return behind closed doors at Naas on 8 June, with National Hunt racing resuming at Limerick on 22 June. The 2000 and 1000 Guineas will take place at the Curragh in the first week of action, with the 2000 Guineas on Friday 12 June and the 1000 Guineas on Saturday 13 June
The Irish Derby retains its traditional date on Saturday, 27 June, as does the Irish Oaks on Saturday, 18 July. Irish Champions Weekend will take place on 12 and 13 September.
For the first three weeks, racing will be restricted to nine racecourses which are more centrally located to minimise travel distances and which also have higher stable capacities given the requirement for one stable per horse under the new protocols.
Wherever possible eight-race cards will be staged to maximise opportunities for the horse population. Safety limits will be decided on a racecourse by racecourse basis to accommodate each track’s social distancing requirements, with a general maximum limit of 18 initially. It has been agreed that Cork racecourse will not be among those used in June when it will continue to serve an important role as an HSE Test Centre for Covid-19.
A full programme of races for these fixtures in June, and the Black Type and Premier Handicap race schedule for the full year, will be published next week. International participation will be restricted to Group 1 and Group 2 races only for June, all of which must be in strict compliance with Government policy on the movement of people in and out of the country. It is envisaged that all Black Type races will be open to international competition from the start of July.
All the fixtures will take place under the strict protocols published yesterday by Horse Racing Ireland. One of those protocols involves the prior health screening of all those who will be in attendance at each race meeting and, to facilitate the efficient delivery of this, 48-hour declarations will be introduced for all races in June.
Arising from the financial situation the industry finds itself in, regrettably a number of prize money reductions will take immediate effect for June, with the possibility that further downward adjustments will be required through the rest of the year. The focus has been on maintaining prize money levels in the lower to medium tiers as high as possible.
The new proposed prize money for Group 1 races already closed, or about to close for entry, sees the Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes both cut to €750,000 (by 50% and 40% from €1.5m and €1.25m respectively) with significant reductions to all other Group 1 races throughout the year. The 1000 and 2000 Guineas will both be worth €250,000.
General prize money reductions, initially to the end of June, are as follows:
· Base values for Group 1 Flat races cut by 30%-50%
· Base values for races above €50,000 cut by at least 25%
· Base values for races above €20,000 to €50,000 cut by 20%
· Base values for races above €15,000 to €20,000 cut by 15%
· Base values for races from €10,000 to €15,000 cut by 10%
· Minimum value of €10,000 cut by 10% to €9,000
· Entries fees for all races will be reduced in line with prize money reductions
There will be no apprentice races or claiming races in the opening two weeks, and 10lb claimers with less than six rides will not be permitted to take rides in the first fortnight.
With no racecourse saunas permitted to open under the Covid-19 protocols, the 2lb increase in weights introduced in March will continue to be applied to all races.
JUNE FIXTURES (Flat unless otherwise indicated)
June 8 Naas
June 9 Leopardstown
June 10 Navan
June 11 Gowran Park
June 12 Curragh
June 13 Curragh
June 14 Leopardstown
June 15 Fairyhouse, Roscommon
June 17 Gowran Park, Limerick
June 18 Fairyhouse
June 19 Tipperary, Gowran Park
June 20 Naas
June 21 Leopardstown
June 22 Roscommon, Limerick (NH)
June 23 Navan
June 24 Naas, Roscommon (NH)
June 25 Fairyhouse
June 26 Curragh, Tipperary (NH)
June 27 Curragh
June 28 Curragh
June 29 Limerick, Kilbeggan (NH)