Horse Racing Ireland has announced that the 2020 Galway Festival will remain a seven-day meeting on its original dates this year – but significant changes have been made to the traditional race programme.
The meeting usually has a mixture of flat and jumps action each day, but the opening two days will this year host Flat races only.
In addition the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday cards will be all National Hunt. The decision to limit cards to one code has been made to minimise the number of people working at the racecourse.
Scheduled to begin on July 27, the meeting will conclude with two all-Flat cards. The Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle will be run on the Wednesday and Thursday as normal.
Irish racing is set to return behind closed doors with strict new protocols in place at Naas on June 8.
The revised fixture list for July features 47 meetings, three more than in the original schedule. In recognition of the increased workload, there will now be three days – up from two – on which no racing takes place during the month.
HRI’s director of racing Jason Morris said: “We recognise that there will be a large demand for opportunities to run and our aim is to provide all Flat horses with their first run as quickly as possible following the resumption of racing by offering a balanced programme across all age groups, distances and categories. There will be 53 Flat meetings up to the end of July with this objective in mind.
“There will also be 22 National Hunt fixtures programmed between June 22 and the end of July, compared to the equivalent of 17 meetings in the same period last year, to cater for the demands of the jumps horse population.
“There will be eight-race cards run at every opportunity where stable capacity allows, with the protocols requiring one stable per horse for hygiene reasons.”
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Enhanced 36 race Royal Ascot order of running revealed
Ascot Racecourse has revealed the running order of running for the behind closed doors 2020 Royal Meeting, with six extra races being staged at the five-day spectacular which takes place between June 16 and 20.
There will be seven races staged on the first four days, with eight on the final card.
The Buckingham Palace Handicap, lost from the card when the Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015, will open the meeting.
A Silver Royal Hunt Cup (1m) and a Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f) are included for those who miss the cut for the main events.
Also staged this year only will be the Copper Horse Handicap (1m 6f, for four year-olds and upwards), the Golden Gates Handicap (1m 2f, for three-year-olds) and the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, for three-year-olds).
Amongst the changes to the regular programme are the movement of the St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes to the final day, to maximise the time between them and the Guineas at Newmarket (June 6 and 7).
In order to provide two-year-olds with as much time as possible before the key races at Royal Ascot, the two year old programme has been moved back with four of the six races to be staged on Friday and Saturday.
The King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes, now key Derby and Oaks Trials, will be on the opening day in order to maximise the gap to Derby and Oaks Day (July 4). The Hampton Court will be run on day two.
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse said:| “We are most grateful to the BHA’s race planning team for their assistance in framing the additional races for this exceptional renewal of Royal Ascot.
“We hope these extra opportunities will be welcomed by horsemen, broadcasters and the public at home.”
Oaks contender Born With Pride set for Kempton return
Newmarket handler William Haggas has revealed that his hugely exciting Investec Oaks prospect Born With Pride is likely to have a prep run at Kempton during the planned first week of racing resumption.
The daughter of Born To Sea is currently 10/1 with Paddy Power for the fillies’ Classic contest after creating a huge impression when landing a 20/1 success in the Listed Montrose Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket back in November on her sole juvenile start in November.
The Epsom showpiece is scheduled for July 4 this year and, should racing restart as hoped next week, Haggas has earmarked the 1m 2f Classic Trial at Kempton on June 3 for Born With Pride to make her eagerly awaited return to action.
He told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme: “She’s always shown a bit at home and is a very well-bred filly and a strong galloper. There’s lots of stamina on the dam’s side and she looked good that day.
“There were two divisions of a seven-furlong maiden that day and I would have run her in one of those, but we had three in each division and we thought she was possibly the one that would enjoy a mile more than the others, so she ran in the Montrose. She did nothing wrong that day.”
Born With Pride, who carries the colours made famous by superstar Sea The Stars, has only Quadrilateral i9n front of her in the Oaks betting.
I think she is far more likely to stay the 1m 4f trip than Roger Charlton’s unbeaten filly who is currently favourite for the 1000 Guineas at a best price of 100/30 with 888sport.