By Darren Moore, May 27, 2020
It is finally happening!
After 10 weeks with no action on the turf, UK horse racing is roaring back on June 1, 2020 – albeit in unusual circumstances, with no fans in the stands.
And here at freebets.co.uk we couldn’t be more excited about the impending restart!
The first week begins with an all-weather meet at Newcastle and then it’s set to be thrills all the way, with two meets a day on June 2-5 and three a day from June 6 onwards.
The British Horseracing Authority has announced a provisional 'behind closed doors' fixture list from June to August subject to Government approval – the opener on June 1st is scheduled for @NewcastleRaces – for details of all our meetings, click here – https://t.co/A124DCF3d6 pic.twitter.com/waHgEuQefl— Newcastle Racecourse (@NewcastleRaces) May 24, 2020
March 17 was the last time a horse race was staged in the British Isles so it’s been a remarkable two and a half months since arguably the most popular betting sport of all has entertained the nation.
Although the 2020 Grand National was lost and there was also a premature end to the National Hunt season, thankfully the classic flat races have been saved.
The 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas will be taking place on June 6 and June 8, Royal Ascot will be held from June 16 – 20 and the Epsom Derby will be run on the first Saturday in July.
That’s not to say the COVID-19 induced break has not ensured the landscape has changed.
A few tracks have announced they will not be open during the summer – Brighton, Nottingham, Ffos Las, Carlisle and Worcester – and for now racing will take place without spectators meaning a lack of atmosphere.
Racecourse bookmakers will also be absent meaning the usual system used for formulating SP’s (starting prices), which is based on the on-course betting market, will not be used.
One of the big changes will be that official Starting Prices will be based on odds provided by major off-course betting firms and collated by the Starting Price Regulatory Commission.
Resultantly getting the best prices about your horse racing bets before off-time could be more important than ever. Similarly, as high street betting shops will not be open to take bets till at least mid-June only using online sportsbooks which offer BOG (the ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ concession) is pretty important.
Freebets.co.uk is delighted to be back in business and we will be here to give you all the important racing information you need these coming days and weeks.
This will include the lowdown on where to find horse racing free bets, how to take advantage of both free bet offers and concessions, plus the latest odds, big race previews and tips.
Eager to take up the slack and get their businesses kick-started there’s probably going to be more free bet offers than ever before especially as June is now jam-packed full of major Group races.
In fact, with Ireland racing again from June 8 and the Irish 2,000 Guineas taking place on June 12, there should be a veritable feast of free bet offers to be found.
Monday, 1 June is the day we can start to celebrate with a relatively mundane eight-race card coming from Newcastle’s all-weather track. The following day Newcastle races again and it is joined by a second meeting, Kempton Park, which also races on an all-weather surface.
But what can we expect from these two relatively low-profile cards? Well firstly they may look a little strange with jockeys, stable hands, trainers and stalls handlers all wearing face masks and attempting to ‘social distance’ where possible.
Secondly it would be a surprise if the formbook ‘stood up’ well, whereby the runners with the best form, and so starting at shorter prices, all ran up to punters expectations.
A bumper entry of 369 horses have been made for next Monday's planned resumption of racing @NewcastleRaces. Subject to Government approval, there will be eight races behind closed doors and live @SkySportsRacing from 1pm – here are the entries – https://t.co/G84FDXZhbA pic.twitter.com/VAdgvKxmtq— Newcastle Racecourse (@NewcastleRaces) May 26, 2020
Many horses will be making their seasonal debuts and it will be a belated debut at that.And so it is going to be near impossible to predict which horses have physically progressed during the winter months.
Similarly there is no saying which trainers have managed to get their horses fully fit and have not had their training regime’s affected by Covid-19 and the lack of available stable staff.
Recent results in France, which resumed racing a fortnight ago, have most certainly been difficult to predict and it’s not difficult to envisage that we may also see a lot of big-priced winners.
Aidan O’Brien has won four of the last five 2,000 Guineas (with SP’s of 4/1, 6/4, 3/1 and 11/2) but it would be no surprise if we get a turn-up comparable to Night Of Thunder’s 40/1 shock victory in 2014 given the 2020 ‘classic generation’ will all arrive at Newmarket without the benefit of a prep race.
The 2,000 Guineas is not the first Group race of 2020, we only need to wait until Wednesday, 3 June to see the first top-drawer horses in action.
That will be a Group 3 ‘classic trial’ coming from Sandown Park and there’s another Group 3 contest at Newcastle on Thursday.
By Friday afternoon (June 5) the horses will go to post for the first Group 1 race of the 2020, the Coronation Cup, which has been transferred from Epsom to Newmarket.
Then at the weekend we have the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on June 6 and 7 respectively.
The Coronation Cup rescheduling is just one of the major changes to the horse racing calendar this summer, other notable changes and/or highlights include: