With the return of horse racing in Britain and Ireland from the start of June now all but confirmed, bookmakers are set to benefit from a huge surge in betting on the sport of kings.
There appears to be a bit of a betting bonanza in store with British and Irish classics scheduled to arrive like London buses – one after the other, as the racing calendar so severely impacted during the coronavirus pandemic attempts to make up for lost time.
When things do get underway again, it will have been more than two months since the last races took place pre-lockdown. During the period we’ve lost the Grand National, the early season classic pointers, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks and Derby, which would have been staged at the start of June, among others.
The four classics look like being saved if the Jockey Club plans do come to fruition and horse racing manages to return as planned in June with social distancing protocols that have proven so successful to keep the show on the road in Australia, Hong Kong and some racecourse in the United States.
Those plans would see the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas held behind closed doors at Newmarket and ensure the Group 1 races that are so important to the breeding community get staged. The Oaks and Derby would then follow a month later, also behind closed doors and interestingly planned to be staged on the same day at Epsom.
In Ireland the Punchestown and Fairyhouse Festivals were cancelled, as was the Galway Festival too. The start of the flat season was put back and a mid-June resumption is possible with a catch up period likely to lead into the Irish classics.
It seems that all is not lost just yet for the summer of racing and the top flat horses will be seen on a racecourse. Coronavirus has seriously impacted the horse racing industry, bookmakers and starved fans of the sport they love. But all is not lost just yet.
When things do start, hopefully with the planned June 1 meeting at Newcastle that the BHA have pencilled in subject to approval, the interest from bookmakers will be massive – and a huge choice of free bets will be available for punters to take advantage of.
Bookmakers have been hard hit with not only racing cancelled, but just about every other major sport that contributes to their revenue stream. Yes, there has been the odd football league continuing in Belarus and Nicaragua, and table tennis, some tennis and darts from home taking place.
But it has not been a fulfilling betting proposition for horse racing lovers. Racing gamblers have had Australia and United States to bet on, as well as the virtual racing online, but it isn’t the same as studying the form for a big race at Newmarket – or even a Monday after claimer at Wolverhampton.
That is why we can expect a betting bonanza when racing does return. Having been starved of the opportunity to bet, expect bookmakers to be busier than ever when the gates open on a comeback of racing. And they will want you to be betting into their books.