Racing resumes in Britain today and fans are in for a treat as Newcastle hosts a ten-race card that will see 120 runners hit the north-east track.
The first domestic race meeting since mid-March, which was only given the green light on Saturday, will take place behind closed doors, with attendees adhering to strict health and safety protocols implemented by the British Horseracing Authority.
Newcastle’s meeting consists of a mixture of handicaps, novice races and maiden stakes. Among the horses bidding for victory are the James Tate-trained Magical Journey, who was last seen finishing second behind Mild Illusion in the Listed Bosra Sham Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket in November.
The daughter of Night Of Thunder lines up in division two of the Betway Novice Stakes (6f) at 2:45pm and her rivals include Art Power, trained by Tim Easterby, an impressive five- length winner of a 5f novice stakes at York last year.
Also running at Newcastle today is the Roger Varian-trained Mutasaamy, who showed rapid improvement as a handicapper last summer and could take all the beaten in the mile handicap at 1:35pm if he recaptures the same form he showed as a three-year-old.
Guineas races take centre stage in France
Away from Newcastle, France’s return to racing action earlier this month means that this year’s Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Pouliches will have the distinction of being the first Classics held this Flat season.
Traditionally, both the Poulains and Pouliches fall after the running of the QIPCO 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket but the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent suspension of racing meant that Britain’s first Classics have been delayed until next weekend.
While this year’s Poulains and Pouliches will not be run at Longchamp due to the restrictions imposed on French racecourses in so-called ‘red zones’, Deauville has stepped in to host the races.
Nine colts will vie for top honours in the Poulains and leading French trainer Andre Fabre is triple handed in the contest with Group 1 winners Alson and Victor Ludorum plus Coolmore’s Arapaho.
Victor Ludorum will be looking to bounce back after he could finish only third on his seasonal debut in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau earlier this month, when he was beaten by fellow Poulains contender The Summit.
The field for the Poulains is completed by Celestin, Shinning Ocean, Kenway, Reshabar and Ecrivain.
Fabre is also well represented in the Pouliches and will send out two runners including Tropbeau, who caught the eye with a comeback win in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp earlier this month.