Horse racing is set to return in the UK on Monday, with Newcastle planning to host the first meeting since lockdown began.
A mouth-watering ten-race card has been revealed, with 120 declarations made on Friday morning for the intended resumption fixture.
The meeting had initially attracted 369 entries when set to carry eight races, but the card will now be extended and the fixture will now begin at 1.00pm, with races every 35 minutes until the final contest at 6.15pm.
The 12-runner fields feature some of Britain’s leading riders and trainers, including champion jockey Oisin Murphy, booked for a trio of rides, and champion trainer John Gosden, who will send out three runners ridden by Robert Havlin.
The British Horseracing Association (BHA) has planned for a June 1 restart subject to approval from the government, with Boris Johnson’s further easing of lockdown restrictions opening the door for sport to take place once more from the start of next week.
The last meeting to take place in the country happened on March 17, when racing, along with all other sports, was forced to halt due to coronavirus.
The BHA said in a statement on Friday: “We’re counting down the hours to the return of racing and looking forward to official confirmation from the UK Government after it has published its guidelines for the resumption of sport in the next day or so. The long break is nearly over.
“This morning, we’ve been busy processing the declarations received for Newcastle’s fixture on June 1 and we are now implementing our new medical screening procedures to ensure we safeguard those who plan to be there on Monday for racing’s return.”
The meeting will begin a bumper month of racing in the UK with a number of top meetings in June, including the Guineas Meeting and Royal Ascot coming up later this month.
All racing will take place behind closed doors until further notice with strict afety protocols in-place which require that staff must complete an online course and questionnaire while everyone arriving at a venue, everyone will have their temperature taken.
“Anybody’s who’s above the level, I think it’s 37.8C, will not be admitted and nor will anyone traveling with them,” George McGrath, chief executive of the National Association of Racing Staff, said last week.
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