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Jockey Club Racecourses looks to reschedule first four Classics of the season

Press Release 7th April 2020

The QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and The Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse will not be staged 2nd/3rd May and 5th/6th June respectively, due to the ongoing public health emergency, Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) announced today.

Given the importance of the three-year-old Classic programme to the careers of that generation of horses, and the racing and bloodstock industries as a whole, JCR is now in talks with the British Horseracing Authority, participants and other key stakeholders, including the Horserace Betting Levy Board and commercial partners, to reschedule the first four Classics at later dates, once racing has resumed in Britain.

JCR is looking to provide participants with the opportunity to ensure their horses are in peak condition with preparation races and adequate spacing between the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and QIPCO 1000 Guineas, run over a mile, and The Investec Derby and The Investec Oaks, run over a mile and a half.

Amy Starkey, who runs Newmarket Racecourses as East Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said:

“With less than a month until the QIPCO Guineas Festival, trainers need to know whether to step up preparations for their Guineas horses or put that on pause for a later date.

“The future is too uncertain at the moment and there is no opportunity for any preparation races before such important contests for the 2020 Classic generation.

“Therefore we feel now is the right time to take the decision to cancel the QIPCO Guineas Festival and turn our attention to determining, in conjunction with the BHA, participants and stakeholders, the earliest possible opportunity to reschedule the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.”

Phil White, who runs Epsom Downs Racecourse as London Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said:

“Following consultation with our many event stakeholders and in order to comply with current government guidance, given the unique nature of the Downs as a public space, sadly it is not practical to stage The Investec Derby Festival on 5th and 6th June.

“We are now working with the sport to explore our options to reschedule, at minimum, The Investec Derby and The Investec Oaks, as part of delivering the 2020 Classic programme for three-year-olds. We thank all involved for their pragmatism and patience as we work this through together.”

Ruth Quinn, Director of International Racing and Racing Development at the BHA, said:

“As a sport we have a responsibility to safeguard the staging of our Classics, and to position them within a sensible, balanced schedule of complementary events wherever possible. We will continue to work together to deliver the optimal outcome within these unprecedented set of circumstances.

“We are developing plans to help ensure that a suitable race programme, for the long-term health of the sport, can be delivered in these challenging times. Naturally one of the key priorities is the staging of the generation-defining races.

“The plan will adapt depending on when racing recommences, but will aim to ensure that we provide suitable opportunities for the horses most likely to define the future of the thoroughbred breed if at all possible.”

David Redvers, QIPCO’s representative and Racing Manager to Qatar Racing, said:

“Whilst horseracing fans and professionals alike will be desperately sad to lose the QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas from their appointed dates, they can rest assured that we will be working together with the team at Newmarket Racecourses and The Jockey Club to ensure this is only a temporary measure.

“The Classics and the Pattern define horseracing and QIPCO is committed to ensuring that the running the first of this year’s Classics takes place at the earliest opportunity, to help to safeguard the health and prosperity of the horseracing industry.”

Racegoers with tickets for either festival will be contacted directly with the details of the options open to them.

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