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Horse Racing News

Friday 15th May 2020

Guineas earmarked for first weekend of horse racing's return in June

British horse racing chiefs are planning top-level action soon after the sport returns with the season's opening two Classics pencilled in for the first weekend in June.

Racing has been suspended in Great Britain since 17 March because of the coronavirus crisis, but it is hoped the action can resume behind closed doors on 1 June if given government approval.

Under a provisional programme, the 2,000 Guineas would take place on Saturday 6 June, with the 1,000 Guineas a day later.

The major early races would be open to international contenders, although details of any quarantine arrangements have yet to be announced.

Royal Ascot remains on the calendar for 16 to 20 June, but the meeting's exact schedule is likely to change and the Queen is not expected to attend for the first time in her 68-year reign.

The Government announced on Monday that professional sport will not be held in England until 1 June at the earliest, forcing the British Horseracing Authority to adjust its plans.

It had hoped to run several high-profile races during the final two weekends of May.

Now race planners are drawing up a new timetable, with details on social distancing and safety protocols still to be ironed out.

The unbeaten Pinatubo, officially rated higher than the legendary Frankel as a juvenile, is clear favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, which had originally been scheduled for the first weekend in May.

But the Godolphin-owned colt, trained by Charlie Appleby, now seems certain to head into the race, like other leading contenders, without a previous outing this year.

Epsom would host both the Derby and the Oaks, for three-year-olds, on Saturday 4 July, with the Eclipse Stakes being moved back 24 hours and only open to horses aged four or older.


 

Virtual Grand National raises £2.6m for NHS Charities Together

2020 Virtual Grand National raised more than £2.6m for NHS Charities Together.

The computer-simulated event, staged after the actual race was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, was "won" by 18-1 shot Potters Corner.

Bookmakers paid out on the "winner" and are donating profits from losing bets.


 

Cheltenham Festival: 50-1 Lisnagar wins Stayers' Hurdle

The 50-1 shot Lisnagar Oscar caused the biggest shock of this year's Cheltenham Festival with victory in the Stayers' Hurdle on day three.

Ridden by Adam Wedge, who claimed his first Festival winner, Lisnagar Oscar was two lengths clear of Ronald Pump (20-1), with Bacardys (33-1) third.

Last year's winner Paisley Park, the 4-6 favourite and in superb form this season, was never a threat and fell off the pace with three hurdles to go.


 

Enable and Dettori denied as Waldgeist wins Arc de Triomphe

Enable and Frankie Dettori were denied a record third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as Waldgeist pipped her on the line to win Europe's richest Flat race.

Hot favourite Enable, the 2017 and 2018 winner, was a length clear entering the closing stages at Longchamp.

But Waldgeist, ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot, was able to give French trainer Andre Fabre a record eighth Arc win.

Enable's trainer John Gosden said the five-year-old's owner, Saudi prince Khalid Abdullah, will make the decision whether to retire the mare after the defeat.

It is just a second defeat for Enable, who was the strong favourite going into the Arc off the back of impressive wins in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and the Yorkshire Oaks at York.

She was roared on in the closing stages by the French crowd but could not keep up with 16-1 Waldgeist's fast finish.

Fellow five-year-old Waldgeist, beaten on each of the three previous occasions they had met, finished fourth in last year's Arc.

It was a first win in the race for Frenchman Boudot and sees Waldgeist take the 2,857,000 euros (£2,543,458) winner's prize.

Sottsass finished third under Cristian Demuro for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget at 8-1.


 

Royal Ascot 2019: Blue Point wins the King's Stand Stakes for a second successive year

The Charlie Appleby-trained Blue Point won the King's Stand Stakes for a second successive year on the opening day of Royal Ascot.

Just as in 2018, Blue Point finished ahead of Battaash, who had started as the 2-1 favourite.

Blue Point, priced at 5-2, was ridden by James Doyle and becomes only the 12th horse to win the race twice.


 

Cheltenham Festival 2019: Al Boum Photo claims Gold Cup glory success

The 12-1 chance Al Boum Photo, ridden by Paul Townend, put in a superb display to give trainer Willie Mullins a first Cheltenham Gold Cup victory.

Mullins, the Festival's most successful trainer, had previously finished second six times in the prestigious race.

Al Boum Photo had some anxious moments with his jumping but raced away to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

Fellow Irish challenger Anibale Fly (22-1) was second with the grey Bristol De Mai (18-1) back in third.