Royal Ascot ready to race in camera if it takes place in June | sport

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What is the point of Royal Ascot without the fancy dresses, the absurd hats and the gourmet partygoers who wear them? If there is an answer to this question, it will be identified this summer, as the 109-year-old event must be held behind closed doors, assuming it takes place at all.

Horse racing fans felt the ground move under their feet when the news was announced Tuesday afternoon, moments after Jockey Club officials said the first four classic races of the year, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, the Derby and the Oaks, had to be postponed indefinitely. The Guineas would normally take place in Newmarket in May, the Derby and the Oaks in Epsom in early June, but it is now accepted as impossible to continue such important races on these dates.

It was widely imagined that Royal Ascot could also be postponed until, say, the end of July in the hope that the race could be operational by then. But many of the races to be held there are designed for a particular time in the development of two- and three-year-old thoroughbreds. Delaying them would mean running into competing races on other tracks later in the summer.

Those running the Queen’s trail admit that it must be mid-June or nothing, and they see no prospect, given the current restrictions made necessary by the coronavirus, of being allowed to bring in up to 70,000 people. daily for only two months from now.

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