Good morning all,
There was good and bad news for the sport on Monday.
The UK Government announced on Monday that England would enter Stage 4 of its roadmap out of lockdown on July 19th. This includes an end to social distancing and limits on public gatherings such as sporting events.
The scrapping of social distancing means that racecourses can see a return to full or near-full capacity from next Monday. Some protocols will remain at racecourses to protect participants from the potential impact of positive cases and self-isolation requirements. These are set to be announced later this week. A report in the Telegraph on Tuesday suggests that the UK government will also urge sporting bodies to adopt Covid-19 vaccine certification at their events as “a matter of social responsibility.” A day at the races could be set to become more complicated.
The first major raceday after the rules relax – the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes on July 24 – but it doesn’t look like there will be a maximum capacity at the fixture.
The news is good for racecourses and York were quick to respond to Monday’s news. They announced a prize-money boost to next month’s Ebor Festival. There will be 28 races over the four days of the meeting and 21 of them will be run at or even above pre-Covid 2019 values.
…and the Bad
There’s some bad news on the horizon for racing with the news that BBC’s Panorama current affairs flagship will be airing a programme entitled: ‘The Dark Side of Horse Racing’.
Each year 4,000 thousand racehorses leave training. Yes, some get rehomed and others are retrained and embark on second careers. However, what many people aren’t aware of is that many healthy horses with years ahead of them who can’t pay their way will end up in the abattoir.
The sport has been very good at sweeping this under the carpet for many years. It looks like it won’t be able to do so anymore if the programme is aired on Monday. Let’s hope the programme isn’t a car crash for the sport. If it is the sport is about to face a big public backlash and the consequences for the sport will be profound.
We will have to wait and see. Anyway, back to a few horses from last week that are worth adding to the tracker.
Royal Scimitar – Clive Cox
Previous eyecatcher Blackrod took the 3-year-old only sprint handicap on Thursday at the July Festival. Its that race that provides today’s first horse for the tracker.
Royal Scimitar a winner on his first start as juvenile hadn’t really built on his 2-year-old promise on his first three starts this season. On Thursday he bounced back to his best when a ½ length 4th of 17 behind Blackrod. Back over sprint trip for the first time his racecourse debut. He pulled nicely clear of group who raced near side and on the evidence of this performance can land a nice pot in the coming weeks.
Highland Rocker – John Gosden
A winner at Ripon back in April before disappointing on soft ground in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. He put in a much better performance, returned to quicker ground, when a 4¼ lengths 4th of 10 to Dubai Honour in the 1m 2f handicap on Friday at Newmarket. Not the best away he hung a bit left when making his effort two out but ran on well to almost grab third. He stays 1m 4f and although this was a near career best effort by the 3-year-old he remains capable of better.
Hurricane Ivor – William Haggas
This week’s final eyecatcher isn’t from Newmarket but from the 5f handicap at Ascot on Saturday. Hurricane Ivor had dead heated at Sandown 7-days earlier on just his second start since joining the William Haggas yard. The 4-year-old improved again to run Significantly to a short head. He pulled well clear of those who raced on the far side. He will be put up again by the handicapper but the gelding is going the right way and there is a valuable sprint handicap to be won with him. It could be Goodwood Stewards Cup.
Both Tuesday’s fancies ran into the places at Killarney and a decent priced each way double landed. Far and away the best race across Europe today is the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp (7:20).
7:20 – Grand Prix de Paris (Group 1) – 1m 2f
Irish Derby Winner Hurricane Ivor has been supplemented. He will be hard to beat if reproducing his Curragh effort. However, he did have a hard race that day and he might be worth taking on here.
The form of Alenquer’s Sandown Classic Trial win is working out well. He beat Epsom hero Adayar that day and hard Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle back in 4th. He’s since easily won the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Deserves his place in Group 1 company although stall 11 could have been better.
The best of the home team on form are Saiydabad and Cheshire Academy. The pair finished 4th & 5th behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix Du Jockey Club (French Derby) last time. Cheshire Academy lost his unbeaten record in that race but it was still a career best on RPR’s from the colt. He was doing his best work at the finish form out wide that day and his pedigree suggests he can improve again for the step up to 1m 4f. A best priced 7/1 with Sky Bet but you should be able to get a bit better on the exchanges.
Selection: Cheshire Academy – 7/1 @ Sky Bet.
Good luck with your Wednesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk