Guineas to take centre stage in planned bumper return for racing

The Classics would headline the opening weekend of action.

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Racing is set for a high-profile return when it resumes, with provisional plans to stage the 2000 and 1000 Guineas on the first weekend in June remaining unchanged following the Government’s announcement earlier this week that professional sport cannot restart before June 1.

The British Horseracing Authority had initially inked in Guineas trials on the penultimate weekend in May under its “best-case scenario” planning outlined earlier this month, but with racing unable to restart as quickly as hoped, Classic contenders will head to Newmarket without a prep run.

The 2000 Guineas remains in its slot on June 6, with the 1000 Guineas 24 hours later, although all plans remain subject the Government giving sport clearance to resume behind closed doors.

Royal Ascot is also still set for its scheduled position of June 16-20, although “some changes to the order of races” at the meeting are likely, details of which “will be confirmed as soon as possible”.

The Derby and Oaks will be scheduled for July 4, with the Eclipse moved back a day to the Sunday (July 5). The BHA said that “under these circumstances, the Eclipse would be restricted to four-years-old and upwards”.

The 10-furlong Classic Trial, the Snowdrop Stakes over a mile and the six-furlong Pavilion Stakes, which often serves as a trial for the Commonwealth Cup, will all be run between June 3 and 4 under the revised timetable.

June 5 is also set to be a bumper day of action with the Lingfield Derby and Oaks Trials and Group One Coronation Cup programmed alongside the Abernant, Brigadier Gerard and Paradise Stakes.

However, the BHA reiterated that “the exact timetable for the resumption of racing will remain subject to agreement from Government and an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time” and warned “any changes to the timetable are likely to have an impact on the programme for Pattern and Listed races”.

A provisional schedule for the first seven days of non-Pattern races was released last week and the BHA anticipate the release of further details later this week, as well as a provisional race programme for the second seven-day period.

The BHA added that Pattern and Listed races will now also be open to international runners.

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