Racing chiefs pin hopes on Newcastle with first meeting pencilled in for June 1 and 18 fixtures in busy opening phase

RACING chiefs are pinning their hopes on Newcastle to get the show back on the road from June 1.

In a new fixture list released to trainers, the northern track will host the first meeting back with an eight-race card.

The following day Kempton gets in on the act with Newcastle racing again and also hosting the first two-year-old races.

In all, the BHA hopes a total of 18 behind closed door meetings can be run in the first eight days.

Seven different tracks will be used with Newmarket and Newcastle the most visited with four meetings apiece.

Newmarket will race for four straight days from June 4 and the meeting will include the 2000 and 1000 Guineas.

A cause for concern for a lot of trainers will be their two-year-olds, especially with Royal Ascot around the corner.

And the BHA have reacted by putting on 14 juvenile races in the opening phase. Whether it will be enough is doubtful with trainers such as Richard Fahey already admitting it will give trainers plenty of sleepless nights.

But there will be no regional restrictions put in place and trainers will be free to enter their horses in any fixture they choose.

In the north, Newcastle and Haydock will be utilised with Yarmouth, Newmarket and Chelmsford getting the nod in the Midlands. Down south Lingfield and Kempton will be used.

Early Fixture List

  • 1 June – Newcastle
  • 2 June – Kempton, Newcastle
  • 3 June – Kempton, Yarmouth
  • 4 June – Newcastle, Newmarket
  • 5 June – Lingfield, Newmarket
  • 6 June – Lingfield, Newmarket, Newcastle
  • 7 June – Haydock, Lingfield, Newmarket
  • 8 June – Chelmsford, Haydock, Lingfield

The Racing Resumption Group told trainers: "Following the UK Government's publication of a provisional timeline for the return of sport, we are now planning for racing to resume behind closed doors on June 1.

"To support this plan, the sport will publish by Monday a timetable setting out the preparatory steps we need to work on together, prior to the return of racing, to ensure we are ready to meet that date.

"This will include an outline of the processes and protocols that need to be agreed and communicated across the industry, and we will be asking for your help and support in ensuring that this 'lead-in' preparation is completed as quickly as possible.

"We know that significant changes have already been implemented across the industry – in training yards, at studs and on racecourses – to ensure strict adherence to social distancing measures and to help reduce the spread of the virus.

"In the same manner, strict measures will be applied on racedays, and the racecourses are working with the BHA's course inspectors to develop and implement the necessary requirements to provide the safest possible environment for all attendees. This includes planning for how a raceday will function – including entry and exit and movement around the site – whilst maintaining social distancing."

The group said it intends to publish the fixture list and race programme for the remainder of June by the end of next week.

It added: "As with all race planning at this point, the exact timetable is based on our best-case scenario planning and remains subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at the time."

Details about the participation of foreign-trained runners are expected to be released on Friday.

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