Today’s racing

Southfield Lily, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Southfield Royale, will make her debut in the mares’ bumper (2m) at Newbury today.

A homebred for Angela Yeoman, Southfield Lily is a daughter of Yeats and is out of the winning Garde Royale mare Chamoss Royale, who has also produced Southfield Theatre and Southfield Vic for Yeoman.

The career of Southfield Royale was masterminded by trainer Mark Bradstock and it is the Gold Cup-winning handler who will saddle the four-year-old in today’s contest.

Jumps racing is also staged at Doncaster today while there are all-weather meetings from Lingfield, Newcastle and Dundalk (Ireland).

Johnson makes winning return

After a 37-day absence, champion jockey Richard Johnson made a winning return to action at Musselburgh on Thursday when he galvanised the Olly Murphy-trained Made For You to win close home in the two-mile hurdle.

Speaking to the Racing Post, Johnson said: “I felt I needed the race more than the horse did! I’ll improve for the run. My fitness is not too bad, it’s just match fitness that’s a different thing. It doesn’t matter how much swimming or other stuff you do at home; this blows the cobwebs away.

“I’m very lucky having these sorts of horses to come back on. He did all the hard work. Every time I asked him, he gave me a bit more. The arm feels very good. I’m lucky, it’s all gone smoothly. You never know when you break something how long it’s going to take but I’ve had lots of help.”

The four-time champion jockey made it a double on the day when partnering Dubai Guest to success in the bumper.

Japan to stage racing behind closed doors

Racing in Japan will take place behind closed doors for the foreseeable future after the Japan Racing Association banned racegoers from attending to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Race meetings are scheduled for Nakayama, Chukyo and Hanshin on Saturday with the three tracks also set to stage fixtures on Sunday.

In a statement, the JRA said: “In measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Japan Racing Association has announced that the public will not be permitted to enter JRA racecourses from Saturday, Feb 29 until further notice. JRA races will be held without any spectators.

“In addition, there will be no sale of betting tickets and payout for winning tickets on racedays or payout on weekdays at all JRA racecourses and off-track betting facilities, including WINS, Park WINS and J-PLACE until further notice.

“During this time, the sale of betting tickets and payout for winning tickets will be held only via telephone or online betting.”