Scottish racing and the British Horseracing Authority announced on Thursday that racing will return in Scotland at Ayr on Monday, June 22.

The news came after the Scottish government confirmed that professional sport could resume in the nation as it moves to phase two of its coronavirus route map.

In a statement the minister for public health, sport and wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick said: “I’m sure that this news will be welcomed by racing fans across the country.

“The resumption of professional sports is another step towards some level of normality and its safe resumption is only possible thanks to a constructive relationship between the Scottish government and bodies like Scottish racing.”

BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust added: “I am very pleased that Scottish racing is returning safely from next Monday at Ayr racecourse, ensuring that our truly nationwide sport can resume in line with the protocols which have been working well since our resumption at Newcastle on June 1.

“It is a sign of horseracing’s preparedness that we are the first major sport to return in Scotland as the recovery from Covid-19 continues. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Scottish government in enabling this risk-managed return.”

Scottish Racing Manager Delly Innes said: “We are delighted to welcome the return of racing in Scotland after a long, but necessary, absence as Scotland faced the challenges of Covid-19.

“This has been an immensely challenging time for our five excellent racecourses, but this is an important first step on the road to recovery, and we will be working hard to ensure all our participants are familiar with and adhere to Scottish rules and guidance where these differ from UK guidance.

“We are raring to go with an exciting programme of fixtures in the months ahead which will help support the wider Scottish and British racing industry and provide entertainment to viewers across the country.”

Today’s racing

The fast and furious Group 1 Commonwealth Cup is the feature at Royal Ascot today and given the week Roger Varian has had so far, it would be no surprise to see the trainer strike in the contest with Pierre Lapin.

Pierre Lapin burst onto the scene last year when a gutsy winner of the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. His chief rivals are the Aidan O’Brien-trained Lope Y Fernandez and French raider Kimari.

The Group 3 Albany Stakes, Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and the Group 2 Queen’s Vase are the other headline races at Royal Ascot.

There is also racing from Lingfield (all-weather), Newmarket, Gowran Park and Tipperary today.