Return of UK racing after 'lockdown'
28th May 2020
Horse Racing in the UK was temporarily stopped in March following the outbreak of Covid-19.
Racing is now set to return on the 1st June 2020 (providing there are no last minute hiccups), albeit behind closed doors and without spectators, and the British Horseracing Authority (the sport's governing body) has issued a revised fixture schedule for June.
Royal Ascot is set to take place in June in its original timeslot, though the order of some of the races has been changed and horses haven't had the usual number of prep runs heading into the meeting.
Away from Royal Ascot, it is expected that some of the races will initially have their field sizes capped (around 12 runners) until the sport (and government) have confidence the virus has been contained.
The number of meetings is expected to be lower than is normal for the summer initially, though if the sport can show itself able to operate without exacerbating the spread of the virus, then the limits on field sizes and meetings may soon be lifted, especially as the nation works its way through the phases of the governments strategy to exit lockdown.
In terms of the NMP service, we have been ticking over during the lockdown by having the odd bet on the American and French racing (since the latter started back). When the UK racing returns on 1st June (soon to be followed by the Irish Racing, which returns on 8th June) we will crack on with the service as normal.
I would imagine June may be like 'April' normally is - horses are returning from winter absences and it may take a run or so for them to sharpen up. Many have been training hard at home, though these are unusual circumstances and I think it will be best to tread cautiously initially until we know where each trainer is at with their runners and their level of fitness.
Once most horses have had a run and we have some recent formlines laid down which we can analyse with confidence, that will be the time we will look to increase our stakes and betting activity.
Although we have lost all of April and May from the fixture calendar, the first Classics have been arranged and some of the other Pattern races which we have lost to date have also been reworked back into the calendar in the months ahead.
At the time of writing today we are +57 pts (to highest advised prices) to +36 pts (to lowest advised prices) from 224 pts staked on the 2020 NMP service. Bets are advised on a 0.25 - 3 pt staking scale, with an advised betting bank of 80-100 pts, depending on your attitude to risk.
We are thus well on course to double our betting bank for the year, given the progress we made up to and during lockdown.
The summer is traditionally the time of year when the service has produced its best results and there is little reason to expect this year will be any different - at least once we get the opening month or so behind us and ring rustiness is less of an issue with horses.
We still have Newmarket's July meeting and Glorious Goodwood and the rest of the top action etc to look forward to analyse and bet on - even if spectators might not be allowed back into racecourses for a while and we'll be watching everything through a TV!
Details on how to sign up for the rest of the 2020 NMP service can be found here.