Tate backs Newmarket resumption contingency

Trainer sees HQ as ‘sensible place’ to return to racing.

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James Tate believes Newmarket is the ideal location for racing to take place behind closed doors – if and when the British Horseracing Authority is able to resume the fixture list.

The Newmarket trainer is confident meetings could be staged on the Rowley Mile under a phased return which would reflect any easing of the Covid-19 measures currently in place.

Prospects of racing – which has been placed on lockdown by the BHA until the end of April at least – were given a glimmer of hope on Friday after a letter issued to stakeholders by the Resumption of Racing Group suggested work was being carried out so the sport could start up again on May 1.

Although not confirmed, one idea mooted has been the introduction of a number of regional racing centres – of which Newmarket might be one.

Tate said: “I would be behind racing returning to Newmarket – because with everything applied, it would be a sensible place to have a meeting before anywhere else.

“You could run a meeting with Newmarket-based trainers and only use professional jockeys – and that could just be Newmarket-based ones, because nobody would have to travel far or stay over either.”

Space would be available, he believes, to satisfy the Government’s social-distancing regulations in the continued effort to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Tate added: “You could have 10-runner fields and have a horse in every other stall.

“I’m sure they would race upsides each other in a race – but once they pull up, they could go back in single file.

“It would keep the racing world ticking over.”

While Tate is keen for racing to resume as soon as possible, he stresses support needs to be prioritised in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak first and foremost.

He said: “We all want to get back to normal – but everyone has to focus on the outbreak and doing the right things to support those that have the disease and those that will get it.

“I feel we will have our highest number of cases next week, and the highest number of deaths the week after, so April is not going to be a fun month.

“If we look at other countries it seems the peak number of cases is about a month after a significant start in the number of cases – which was around the beginning of March for us.”

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