HORSE Racing Ireland have unveiled the fixture list from June 8 to June 29 as action returns behind closed doors, with a handful of National Hunt meets included as well as the core flat racing.
However, Cork Racecourse, Mallow, isn't included in the schedule for next month. It has been agreed that the Mallow venue will continue to serve an important role as an HSE Test Centre for Covid-19.
Irish racing is back at Naas on June 8, with National Hunt racing resuming at Limerick on June 22.
The 2000 and 1000 Guineas will take place at the Curragh in the first week of action, with the 2000 Guineas on Friday, June 12 and the 1000 Guineas the following day. The Irish Derby retains its traditional date on Saturday, June 27, as does the Irish Oaks on Saturday, July 18.
Irish Champions Weekend will take place on September 12 and 13.
For the first three weeks, racing will be restricted to nine racecourses which are more centrally located to minimise travel distances and which also have higher stable capacities given the requirement for one stable per horse under the new protocols.
Wherever possible eight race cards will be staged to maximise opportunities for the horse population. Safety limits will be decided on a racecourse by racecourse basis to accommodate each track’s social distancing requirements, with a general maximum limit of 18 initially.
A full programme of races for these fixtures in June, and the Black Type and Premier Handicap race schedule for the full year, will be published next week.
International participation will be restricted to Group 1 and Group 2 races only for June, all of which must be in strict compliance with Government policy on the movement of people in and out of the country. It is envisaged that all Black Type races will be open to international competition from the start of July.
All the fixtures will take place under the strict protocols published yesterday by Horse Racing Ireland. One of those protocols involves the prior health screening of all those who will be in attendance at each race meeting and, to facilitate the efficient delivery of this, 48-hour declarations will be introduced for all races in June.
Arising from the financial situation the industry finds itself in, regrettably a number of prize money reductions will take immediate effect for June, with the possibility that further downward adjustments will be required through the rest of the year.
The focus has been on maintaining prize money levels in the lower to medium tiers as high as possible.
The new proposed prize money for Group 1 races already closed, or about to close for entry, sees the Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes both cut to €750,000 (by 50% and 40% from €1.5m and €1.25m respectively) with significant reductions to all other Group 1 races throughout the year.
The 1000 and 2000 Guineas will both be worth €250,000.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said:
“With the confirmation on Friday of the resumption of racing on June 8, we are now publishing the fixture list and the associated details for the first three weeks of racing.
“We are grateful to everybody for the patience they have shown during this very difficult time and we will provide every opportunity for essential personnel to fully understand and implement the return to racing protocols. Regrettably, due to the financial circumstances of the industry, prize money cuts are inevitable and we have adopted a tiered approach, endeavouring to protect the grassroots of the industry as much as possible.
“We expect there to be significant demand for horses to run once we resume, and we will aim to provide opportunities across the spectrum of age, gender and ability. We will have missed 11 weeks’ racing which will take some time to catch up. We intend to do this over the course of the rest of the year rather than immediately.
“The resumption of racing will allow sales, trade and other ancillary services to get going again and will be widely welcomed in those areas.
“Horse Racing Ireland are liaising closely with our international counterparts regarding the resumption of racing in those countries and issues such as protocols, international runners and prize money levels.”
JUNE FIXTURES (Flat unless otherwise indicated):
June 8 Naas; June 9 Leopardstown; June 10 Navan; June 11 Gowran Park; June 12 Curragh; June 13 Curragh; June 14 Leopardstown; June 15 Fairyhouse, Roscommon; June 17 Gowran Park, Limerick; June 18 Fairyhouse; June 19 Tipperary, Gowran Park; June 20 Naas; June 21 Leopardstown; June 22 Roscommon, Limerick (NH); June 23 Navan; June 24 Naas, Roscommon (NH); June 25 Fairyhouse; June 26 Curragh, Tipperary (NH); June 27 Curragh; June 28 Curragh; June 29 Limerick, Kilbeggan (NH).