The Changing Faces Of Summer Racing Festivals & BHA Grants Joint Trainer Licences

As we all look ahead to a return to racing. There are a number of changes to be made to Royal Ascot and Galway. Two of the summers big extravaganzas.

Ascot has unveiled the running order for this year’s Royal meeting, with six extra races added to the fixture along with changes to the timing of some of the feature events. Seven races are planned on the first four days, with eight on the final day highlighted by the St James’s Palace and Coronation Stakes. The mile events would usually be held on Tuesday and Friday respectively, but with the delayed start to the campaign, they have been moved to the final day to create a bigger gap from the Guineas meeting, which is due to be staged on June 6 and 7.

The Queen Anne and King’s Stand Stakes remain in their usual slots on the first afternoon but will be joined by the King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes, which will now be key Derby and Oaks trials ahead of Epsom’s planned meeting on July 4. The Hampton Court, also an eligible Epsom trial this year, will be run on day two. In order to provide two-year-olds with as much time as possible before the key races at Royal Ascot, the juvenile programme has been moved back with four of the six races to be staged on Friday and Saturday. The Windsor Castle Stakes will be contested on Wednesday and the Chesham on Thursday, with the Norfolk and Albany on Friday and the Queen Mary and Coventry on Saturday. New handicap opportunities have been added with the Buckingham Palace, which was lost from the card when the Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015, opening the meeting. A Silver Royal Hunt Cup over a mile and a six-furlong Silver Wokingham Handicap will be staged, with three other races added for just 2020 – the Copper Horse Handicap over 14 furlongs for four-year-olds and over, the 10-furlong Golden Gates Handicap for three-year-olds and the five-furlong Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap, also for three-year-olds.

The British Horseracing Authority is currently planning a June 1 resumption, subject to Government approval, but Nick Smith, Ascot’s director of racing and public affairs, underlined the venue is not taking that clearance for granted. He 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.

The full Royal Ascot Schedule is below

TUESDAY 16th JUNE

Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f, 3yo+)
Queen Anne Stakes (1m, Group One, 4yo+)
Ribblesdale Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 3yo fillies)
King Edward VII Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 3yo colts & geldings)
King's Stand Stakes (5f, Group One, 3yo+)
Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group Two, 4yo+ fillies and mares)
Ascot Stakes Handicap (2 1/2m, 4yo+)


WEDNESDAY 17th JUNE

Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Hampton Court Stakes (10f, Group Three, 3yo)
King George V Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo)
Prince of Wales's Stakes (10f, Group One, 4yo+)
Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)
Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo)
Copper Horse Handicap (1 3/4m, 4yo+)


THURSDAY 18th JUNE
 

Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo)
Wolferton Stakes (10f, Listed, 4yo+)
Jersey Stakes (7f, Group Three, 3yo)
Chesham Stakes (7f, Listed, 2yo)
Gold Cup (2 1/2m, Group One, 4yo+)
Britannia Handicap (1m, 3yo colts & geldings)
Sandringham Handicap (1m, 3yo, fillies)


FRIDAY 19th JUNE

Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)
Albany Stakes (6f, Group Three, 2yo fillies)
Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo)
Hardwicke Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 4yo+)
Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group One, 3yo colts & fillies)
Queen's Vase (1 3/4m, Group Two, 3yo)
Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo+)

SATURDAY 20th JUNE

Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo fillies)
Coronation Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo fillies)
Coventry Stakes (6f, Group Two, 2yo)
St James's Palace Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo colts)
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, Group One, 4yo+)
Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)
Queen Alexandra Stakes (2 3/4m, Conditions, 4yo+)

The BHA has published the protocol for a return to racing. 

Jockeys and stalls handlers are among those who will be required to wear masks under the protocols drawn up by the British Horseracing Authority ahead of the planned resumption of racing on June 1. The 33-page document outlines a series of measures to be employed should racing get the Government go-ahead to return to action for the first time since March. Completion of an online education module and screening of all participants before they are allowed to attend an event form the initial stage of the protocols, with further health-related questions and temperature checks carried out before people are allowed to enter racecourses.

Social distancing restrictions will be employed, along with facial coverings for those deemed likely to need to breach the two-metre rule, including jockeys, trainers, stalls handlers, stable staff and valets. The BHA is also planning an ongoing surveillance programme to monitor the virus in the racing communities, which will include some testing, while the sport will try to reduce the use of any medical or NHS services to a minimum, employing other health care resources, such as private ambulances, hospitals and medics, to protect the NHS. Social distancing officers will be appointed by the BHA to ensure all measures are implemented and strictly adhered to at all race days.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, it was announced that Galway would stay as a seven-day meeting. It is of course not as we have come to know it.  There will be significant changes to the traditional race programme, with the opening two days to host Flat races only, while the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday cards will be all National Hunt. 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 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. “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.”

In an intriguing development, the BHA is now granting dual trainer licences. Simon Crisford has teamed up with son Ed to train under a joint licence. The Crisfords will join Paul and Oliver Cole in training as a duo. 

Simon Crisford said: “It’s something that’s been on our minds for quite some time and in Australia, it’s a very popular scheme and has always worked extremely well.“We felt that because we have a stable in Dubai for the Carnival, plus we have a stable here in Newmarket, it was appropriate and would be the right thing to do to have a joint licence.“We applied, went through the correct protocol and procedures outlined by the BHA and we were licensed the other day, so it’s good news.“I think it will enable us to progress our business model. Our owners have been very supportive of the idea.“I think it means our communication level with owners and staff will improve – it basically means we can operate as a team and hopefully deliver top results in accordance with our brief.”

Ed Crisford has previously worked as an assistant trainer to John Gosden and his father paid tribute to the handler’s influence. He added: “John Gosden was extremely kind and took him on when he was extremely inexperienced. John has schooled him up as well they’ve schooled Enable!“He’s done extremely well, he’s hard-working, very efficient, understands the game inside out and is a very likeable young person.“I think he would be an excellent trainer in his own right, but it so happens this was an easier route for him to progress to the level.”  It will be interesting to see how the joint licence plays out.