As the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 virus, major sports brands have halted all tournaments and league events. However, horse racing seems to be moving on unscathed in different parts of the world.
Ireland, Australia, and Hong Kong are some of the jurisdictions where these races are staged every week, though with empty stadiums and behind closed doors to maintain the social distancing rule. Other measures have also been put in place to ensure that the jockey and other officials around the racecourse don’t risk exposure to the virus while racing.
Here are the greatest horse racing stories you might have missed when analyzing the Paddy Power Royal Ascot offers for 2020, though the odds are not out yet.
Australian Harness & Horse Racing To Resume Despite The Coronavirus Scare
Harness racing and horse racing will resume following a Coronavirus scare, though the industry has revealed they’ll continue operating unless prohibited by health concerns. The news comes only days after the indefinite suspension of the NRL earlier on Monday, the AFL on Sunday and the A-League on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 virus.
On Friday, flat racing resumed in Victoria, after jockey Mark Zahra from Melbourne tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, 15 days after flying with a person diagnosed with the disease. Two other NSW jockeys who were in contact with Zahra also tested negative for the virus. According to Racing chief executive in Victoria, Zahra’s negative results paves the way for races to return on the racecourse.
Karrakatta Plate Day At The Ascot Racecourse
Held in Western Australia every year, the Karrakatta Plate will return at the Ascot racecourse this Saturday, with the card attracting 14 horses and their jockeys. The Group 2 race boasts of a half a million-dollar prize pool, and all the horses must be two years old. Additionally, the race is run under certain weight conditions, making it very interesting.
Gemma’s Son is the outright favourite for the title, improving consistently with every effort since the bar has been raised. He has the power to sustain his unbeaten run, though Starfield Impact might pose a big danger to Gemma’s Son dreams at the Karrakatta Plate. Starfield Impact has won two times, and he remains among the most experienced horses racing at the Karrakatta Plate field.
Hong Kong Night Races Gallop Without Fans
In Hong Kong’s Happy Valley, Wednesday night horse races are a raucous ritual that attracts about 20,000 fans on the course. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed races, with an eerie silence commanding the racecourse when the horses break from the gates. Betting agencies also remain closed, though locals can wager on races online.