With restrictions in place and Leicester to go ahead tonight despite such restrictions, horse racing has been on a bit of a roller coaster in the past few months. But with Sandown Park and Ascot taking place in July, there’s still plenty of sports betting taking place for fans around the world.
Jockeys see the benefits of one race a day
With the lockdown measures and Government guidelines to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, jockey’s have been restricted to riding at one race meeting per day. Whilst this is a restriction, many believe this has been a silver lining and an unintended benefit.
Jockeys are undoubtedly missing rides, but it means they’re not having to travel quickly to a second meeting. This limits the length of their working day, which has been considered to yield greater benefits than it has costs by the Professional Jockeys Association.
“Someone was going to have an accident if that way of working continued. We didn’t use Covid-19 to trial this, the restrictions came from Jerry Hill and they were based on not wanting people travelling between meetings and potentially increasing the risk,” stated Paul Struthers, the chief executive of PJA. Paul claims they have had various near misses on motorways.
Financial impacts of lockdown
A few vendors have recently made a return on their investments as breeze-up sales began again on Thursday at Tattersalls. This comes two months later than normal, with only a couple of socially-distanced buyers in the auction ring.
With numbers smaller across the board, the market for race-ready horses adapted to the 3 month loss we have had in races. It’s feared by many that a lot of these 2-year-old horses will never find an owner.
The two-day, high-profile Craven Breeze-Up were postponed and held in a single day last Thursday. Of all 61 juveniles sold, the total value sold was down 27%, the average price was down 14%, and the median price was down 30%.
Royal Ascot 2020
Royal Ascot experienced something it never has, and something that made it arguably not the Royal Ascot. With no crowds, there was no fashion. There were no royalty, and there were no bookmakers. Yet, somehow, Royal Ascot still had its drama. Frankie Dettori rode a hat-trick and claimed his seventh jockeys title, whilst Nando Parrado became the Royal Ascott’s biggest priced winner in its history.
There was also a display of equine excellence by Stradivarius, who had all odds against him. With torrential rain all day and all night, he had turned the Golden Cup into a procession. This was Stradivarius’ third Gold Cup in a row at the Royal Ascot, putting him up there with the greats. As Frankie Dettori pointed out last year at Goodwood, “He’ll never be flash and win by 10 lengths, but he gets the job done.”
As we head into the mid-summer and Coronavirus infections on the decline in most countries, horse racing is picking back up. For how long? We don’t know. But in the apprehension of a second wave, we should embrace the upcoming events all the more.