Dubai: The wait is finally over.
After a frustrating 76-day shutdown, horse racing in Britain will finally resume at Newcastle Racecourse on Monday with a well-subscribed 10-race card.
The historic racecourse which is located in Gosforth Park is famous for hosting the Northumberland Plate — a two-mile heritage handicap worth £150,000, the richest two-mile handicap in Europe.
There is no noteworthy Dubai interest at Newcastle on the opening day, but a posse of horses is being primed to race on Tuesday’s cards.
However, its Tuesday’s meeting at Kempton Park’s Polytrack all-weather course that will see Godolphin’s twin handlers, Saeed Bin Surour and Charlie Appleby, out in full force, with as many as eight runners between themselves.
There are no pattern races framed for the opening day’s racing but they offer trainers a chance to launch operations before they settle into a time-tested operation of finding horses for the right races, and right racecourse across the UK.
There are 60 racecourses in operation in Britain, from Perth in Scotland to Newton Abbot in Devon.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, racing returns with strict regulations under the instructions of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). With the bare minimum of people on course while field sizes are restricted to 12 in most races.
All jockeys, trainers, helpers and officials will be subject to controlled temperature screening before being allowed to enter the venue which they have also been encouraged to wear protective face masks which has become the norm all over the world.
Social distancing is to be strictly enforced and monitored.
Newcastle’s 10-race card on Monday, will kick-off with the history-making Betway Live Casino Handicap at 1pm (4pm UAE).
The card consists of six handicaps for more seasoned horses and four races for the lesser experience types.
It is best remembered that multiple champion flat trainer John Gosden famously used Newcastle Racecourse to help break the maiden status of subsequent stable stars Enable and Stradivarius.
It is worth keeping an eye on jockeys Ben Curtis and Danny Tudhope who were in good form before the shutdown in March.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Thoroughbreds team, who are a popular syndicate based in Dubai, will unleash €2 million yearling purchase Luck On Sunday in the Betway Maiden Stakes in the opening week of racing.
By the look of thing’s Monday and Tuesday’s cards can certainly provide enthusiastic racing fans with plenty of excitement to make up for the lost months.