Opportunity missed as racing returns

Betway sponsors the whole card when racing returns at Newcastle on Monday. The resumption is good news all round. However, it’s also a missed opportunity.

Trainer Kim Bailey spotted a great way for racing to get a slice of ‘feel good’ publicity when the sport resumes. He said the first race back should have acknowledged the efforts of NHS staff and care workers. Although racing will be behind closed doors, there is sure to be TV coverage other than just Sky Sports.

There are two divisions of the Betway Novice Stakes on Monday. Renaming them the Care Workers and NHS Staff Stakes hits the spot. By so doing, horse racing would be the first sport to pay homage to their efforts. As Bailey says, it would show that “we, as a sport, appreciate what they have done for us in the past, and what they will do again in the future.” He’s quite right. And thus, it’s a missed opportunity.

Once spectators can return to race meetings, many tracks say they will hold race days in aid of NHS staff and key workers. Aintree has already said it will donate 10,000 tickets to the local NHS and care sector for the first day of the 2021 Grand National meeting.

Not all trainers will have opportunity to run

All ten races at Newcastle on Monday have maximum (for now) fields of 12. From a total of 369 entries, just 120 will run. For the time being, all races will be oversubscribed as trainers seek an opportunity to run their horses. That in itself sends out warning signs. Punters beware!

There has been no British racing since March and no turf racing at all so far this year. We’re in the dark about fitness and form. In France, a host of odds-on shots were turned over when racing resumed earlier this month. Take the hint and don’t dive in with both feet. Don’t try to smash the ball out of the ground just yet. There will be ample opportunity for that as the weeks progress and form becomes clearer.


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