HRI still planning for Guineas weekend to go ahead in May
Opening Classics of the Irish Flat season set for the Curragh on May 23rd-24th
The Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas are due to be run over the weekend of May 23rd-24th at The Curragh. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Ireland’s racing authorities are still pinning their hopes on the first Classics of 2020 being run on schedule at the Curragh next month.
The Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas are due to be run over the weekend of May 23rd-24th.
Those dates are vital to Horse Racing Ireland’s programming plans which are in flux with racing cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Any delay to the Classic dates will reverberate through any amended fixture list put in place for later in the year after the sport resumes, most likely behind closed doors.
Elsewhere in Europe, racing in France is set to start again behind closed doors on May 11th and the Classic Guineas races there have been pushed back three weeks to June 1st.
Britain’s authorities are looking at early June to refix their Guineas contests in a reported best case scenario.
Widespread reports that the Irish Government plan to announce later this week only minimal easing to social restrictions appear to pour cold water on hopes that racing might resume here shortly.
However, Horse Racing Ireland has downplayed the suggestion that Ireland’s first Classics of the year will need to be pushed back as well.
“I don’t think so. It’s too early to make that call,” said HRI’s chief executive, Brian Kavanagh. “The French have pushed them [the French Guineas] out of necessity because their Classic dates are effectively gone.
“The English Guineas was to be run on Saturday so they’re right on top of the dates.
“At one level our Classics being third in the sequence is an advantage.
“There is also a strong benefit from holding those Classic dates in terms of the impact it has on Irish Pattern races later in the season. Once you move them you have to start cascading further moves later in the season.
“The board [of HRI] have taken the view that we’re not going to do that until it’s an absolute must.”
The organisation’s director of racing has outlined to the HRI board a number of programming scenarios dependant on when racing can resume in Ireland again.
“We’re racing ready. There are various different scenarios so were ready for options and we’re ready to resume when government says it is safe and appropriate to do so,”Kavanagh added.
“The priority is the national issue and we’re not going to second guess that.”