Talking Horses: Leicester races given go-ahead amid city lockdown | Sport

A nine-race fixture is to go ahead at Leicester on Tuesday evening, despite the city being the subject of Britain’s first local lockdown against the coronavirus. The decision was announced by racing’s ruling body at 11.19am, barely five hours before the first race is due to take place and with racehorses from around the country already on the road towards the venue in Oadby, just outside the city.

The British Horseracing Authority tweeted: “Following confirmation from local health authorities that the race meeting should go ahead, the fixture at Leicester will take place today. The fixture will be held behind closed doors and with the existing strict health screening and social distancing measures in place.”

BHA Press Office
(@BHAPressOffice)

Following confirmation from local health authorities that the race meeting should go ahead, the fixture at @LeicesterRaces will take place today. The fixture will be held behind closed doors and with the existing strict health screening and social distancing measures in place.


June 30, 2020

The decision came as a surprise to some and risks being the subject of some argument, given the governmental attention now being paid to the local area. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said the city had “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”, with the result that non-essential shops there will be closed on Tuesday and schools will close for most pupils from Thursday.

Hancock announced the local lockdown measures in the House of Commons on Monday evening, and specifically mentioned Oadby, the area just outside Leicester where the racecourse is sited, as one of the areas that would be included. He told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: “It’s so important that we get a grip on this spike that has happened in Leicester. We will be closing the shops by law and will be changing the law in the next day or two to do that.” He also advised that people should not travel “in, out or within Leicester” unless it was essential.

The news means Tuesday’s fixture is a rare example in recent times of a Leicester raceday going ahead after being in doubt. The track’s finances have taken a battering over the past year, mostly because of weather-related abandonments. At one stage this winter, the track had lost six race-meetings out of nine.

Horse racing has been taking place at tracks around Britain for the past four weeks, with attendance limited to essential personnel and measures in place to guard against transmission of Covid-19. Masks are worn by jockeys, stalls handlers and others who may at times have to work within two metres of others.

Tuesday’s best bets

It’s a tricky situation when you stick two young horses in the tracker after their debuts and then they turn up in the same race. I really fancied Roberto Escobarr for a novice contest at Doncaster today but, as he’s become a non-runner, Matthew Flinders (3.30) really ought to be winning.

Both were third in separate divisions of a Haydock maiden three weeks back. Matthew Flinders took part in the marginally quicker of the two races and was travelling quite a bit better than the eventual winner at the three pole.

Unfortunately for Oisin Murphy, racing room evaporated about a furlong later. The Siyouni colt ran on well once in the clear and was a really obvious eye-catcher.

He should know more today and I imagine Murphy will be keen to avoid a repeat. They appeal, even at 11-8, and there might be a bit of 6-4 still hanging around.

Doncaster
12.30 Digital 1.00 She Do 1.30 Mr Wagyu 2.00 Ice Lord 2.30 Giant Steps 3.00 Notforalongtime (nb) 3.30 Roberto Escobarr (nap) 4.00 State Crown 4.30 Verify 5.05 Revolver.
Musselburgh
12.45 Chase The Dollar 1.15 Ghathanfar 1.45 Joshua R 2.15 Bal Mal 2.45 Gleniffer 3.15 Flood Defence 3.45 Little Ted 4.15 Robben Rainbow.
Leicester
4.40 Hot Hot Hot 5.15 Zeebad 5.45 Krazy Paving 6.15 Deconso 6.45 Jeanette May 7.15 Alpine Mistral 7.45 Telekinetic 8.15 Lady Elysia 8.45 Party Potential.
Chepstow
5.00 Myboymax 5.30 Urban Highway 6.00 Spanish Colt 6.30 Eye Smiling 7.00 Astapor 7.30 Sun Festival 8.00 Tomorrow’s Dream 8.30 Cafe Syndney 9.00 Gold Arch

I thought Notforalongtime had strong claims earlier on the card and evidently at least one firm thought so too, as Clive Cox’s runner opened at 7-2. He is now 12-1, which is worrying enough that a watching brief seems the only responsible course.

There’s some 4-1 about Ice Lord (2.00), who has slipped back to what looks a fair mark. His last win, at the end of 2018, was over this course and distance and he’s 5lb lower now.

Chris Wall’s grey put up a really good effort on his reappearance, faring best of the hold-up horses in a Newmarket race in the first week of resumption, getting tired in the latter stages.



https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2020/jun/30/talking-horses-leicester-racecourse-to-learn-if-fixture-can-go-ahead

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