Earthlight is cleared to run in the UK
Earthlight is cleared to run in the UK Image Credit: Godolphin

Dubai: The 2020 British flat racing season, which is looking to swing back into action in the first week of June, has received a significant boost with the news that foreign-trained horses will be permitted to compete in the first two Classics, the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said the decision had been taken following discussions with the Flat Pattern Committee, the advisory body for British racing, as well as their associates in France and Ireland, the Racing Post reported.

Dubai’s Godolphin stable hold a strong hand in the Group 1 2,000 Guineas with the Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo who is the 11-10 ante-post favourite and Andre Fabre’s Earthlight.

While the unbeaten Pinatubo is trained in Newmarket at Appleby’s Moulton Paddocks Stables, Fabre has to bring Earthlight across the English Channel from France, something which would not have been possible had the BHA not cleared foreign horses to run in the UK.

Appleby, who won the 2018 Epsom Derby with Masar, is looking for a first success in the 2,000 Guineas, while Fabre has previously won the colt’s Classic with Zafonic in 1993 and Pennekamp in 1995.

Another trainer who will have welcomed the BHA decision is Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien who has won four of the last five runnings of the 2,000 Guineas, and three of the last four of the 1,000 Guineas.

His 2,000 Guineas wins have come with Churchill (2017), Saxon Warrior (2018) and Magna Grecia (2019), while Minding (2016), Winter (20.17) and Germosa (2019) have won the fillies’ Classic.

The BHA also announced the foreign raiders will be allowed to compete in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket, the first Group 1 of the season which is scheduled for June 5.

However, no overseas runners will be allowed to compete in Listed, Group 2 and Group 3 races until June 15 and no internationally trained horses will be cleared to take part lower level races at the moment.

A BHA statement said: “These discussions have been held against the backdrop of an overriding desire to see racing resume in Britain as soon as possible, with all the necessary protocols in place, such that we can ensure that racing can continue and ultimately revert to its pre-agreed programme.

“Should racing resume on this date [June 1], it is agreed that protecting ourselves against unnecessary risk in the opening few weeks is a responsible and proportionate approach.

“As a result, foreign-trained runners will only be permitted to run in the three Group 1 races taking place in Britain during the first fortnight ... in order to help facilitate a safe and smooth resumption.”