Dubai: British and European racing authorities are currently engaged in discussions with their respective governments in an attempt to ensure the earliest possible resumption of the sport.
According to the 2020 Fixture List announced by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) last month, Newmarket racecourse in England were scheduled to stage the first Classics of the season, the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas, respectively, on May 2 & 3. However, racing in the country had been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and a return date has still not been decided upon.
Dubai’s Godolphin handlers, Saeed Bin Surour and Charlie Appleby, meanwhile are stationed at their respective stables in Newmarket - awaiting the go ahead.
Racing in the country had been suspended until the end of April but this was subsequently extended indefinitely and a return date has not been decided upon.
Australia, Japan and Hong Kong have continued to stage race meetings behind closed doors despite the coronavirus crisis, while Japan staged the first Classic of the new Flat season in the northern hemisphere on Sunday, the Oka Sho, the country’s equivalent of the 1,000 Guineas.
Earlier this week, France Galop announced that the French racing season will reopen on May 11 by staging four Group races at Longchamp. It will be the country’s the first meeting since the shutdown of racing due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 17.
France Galop also said that the dates for all Group 1 races in the 2020 calendar are to be repositioned, starting with the staging of the French 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas on a Monday, June 1.
However, only earlier this week, French prime minister Edouard Philippe said that sport would not be restarting in the country until at least September.
“The 2019-20 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume,” he said.
“It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing.
“It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places, nor team or contact sports.”
Last week, France Galop published a revised fixture list for racing beginning on May 11, detailing strict hygiene and safety measures aimed at limiting any possible risk of infection. One clause said that French races would be restricted to horses based in France until at least the end of May.
All of this is subject to racing getting the green signal from the agricultural department, but Nicolas Clement, president of the French trainers’ association, is optimistic racing will be cleared to resume.
“We’re all hoping that racing can go on. We’re waiting to hear from the authorities but we know they have been involved in positive discussions with the government.
The British authorities, meanwhile, are pursing similar guidelines to convince the government to allow the sport to get underway in Britain.
In a statement issued earlier this week the BHA said: “The racing industry, like everyone at this time, puts the health of the public and our participants first.
“This was clear in our decision to suspend racing and is a central focus of our planning for resumption. Our staff are focusing their efforts right now on planning for the resumption of racing as soon as possible. They are working in full collaboration with trainers, racecourses and others.’’