Racing chiefs confirm Royal Ascot will start as scheduled on June 16 and remain a five-day meeting – but WITHOUT fans present
- Resumption of Racing Group were meeting on Wednesday to discuss the event
- Racing In Britain set to return on June 1 amid government plan to exit lockdown
- Royal Ascot will remain a five-day meeting and take place behind closed doors
- Exact format and running order of prestigious meeting is still being worked out
Royal Ascot, staged behind closed doors, will start on its scheduled date of Tuesday, June 16 amid a glut of top-class racing that was on Wednesday night confirmed for the first five weeks of the return of sport.
Racing is due to return on Monday, June 1 with the first Group One race of the season being the Coronation Cup at a yet-to-be confirmed venue on Friday, June 5.
The 2,000 Guineas will held at Newmarket of Saturday, June 6 and the 1,000 Guineas 24 hours later.
Royal Ascot set to start on June 16 and five-day meeting will take place behind closed doors
Royal Ascot will run for its usual five days from June 16 to June 20 and there will be a mega-weekend at the start of July with the Investec Derby and Oaks at Epsom staged on Saturday, July 6 and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, which will be restricted to four-year-olds and upwards, at Sandown on Sunday, July 7.
The exact running order of Royal Ascot is still being worked out and it will look different.
The St James’s Palace Stakes for three-year-old colts, some of which will have run in the 2,000 Guineas, would have been run on the opening day of the meeting but is likely to be switched to the end of the week to provide the maximum number of days between those two races.
Ascot spokesman Nick Smith said: ‘The order of running will differ but it will be very recognisable as the royal meeting.’
The Queen will not be able to make her traditional appearance this year due to coronavirus
Running the Guineas so quickly after the re-start means runners will have to line up without a prep-run but Derby winning trainer William Haggas, who was involved in planning, said it was the best option in the circumstances.
Haggas added: ‘It is going to be extremely exciting racing. When it comes it will be like Royal Ascot every day! We are not going to get trials in for the Guineas but there will be time for trials for the Derby and the Oaks.
‘We have missed so many stakes races but have get on as many as it is possible to fit in.
‘I am pretty certain we can race responsibly. It has happened all over the world and it is up to us to prove that.’
Britain’s most popular race meeting usually attracts around 300,000 visitors over five days