When Will Horse Racing Resume?
March 31, 2020
The horse racing industry will be keen to spring into action when the UK and Irish governments give the “all clear” that racing fixtures can resume in a normal way. And we expect fans of the Sport of Kings to flock back to racecourses to enjoy a great day out and have a flutter with the bookies. But when will this happen?
Current restrictions on horse racing in the United Kingdom are due to be lifted at the end of April and betting exchange, Betfair, has an active market on whether or not horse racing will resume on or before 1 May. As you may expect, given the current state of play in the United Kingdom, the market considers such a resumption premature at best, with a firm “no” of 1.20 available this week.
The fixture list for May is extensive with over 150 meets planned, and a further 70 are planned for the first half of June up to the start of Royal Ascot which starts on Tuesday 16 June and is due to conclude on Saturday 20 June. This event, the most prestigious in the summer flat racing season, is very important for UK bookies and has attracted the attention of Betfair customers and, with a longer lead time until it starts, the punters are more positive about its chances of taking place, see below.
At present, the racing in Ireland is also discontinued alongside stringent restrictions on social distancing. Major fixtures will not now take place include the Irish Grand National meeting, due to take place between Saturday 11 and Monday 13 April. Meanwhile, doubt lingers over whether the Punchestown Festival which would normally start on Tuesday 28 April and conclude on Saturday 2 May will take place. The Punchestown Festival is a major draw for racing fans, with over 37,000 attending the final day of the Festival last year. Betfair customers reckon that the Festival is unlikely to be given the go-ahead with current odds of 4.5 (7/2) for the Festival to take place.
Horse racing is believed to employ up to 100,000 people in the United Kingdom either directly or indirectly, and the early but safe resumption of racing will be of paramount importance to all involved in the industry as well as its many racing fans.