BHA allow foreign runners in opening Classics
The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed foreign-trained runners will be allowed to enter the first two Classics this summer.
The decision to open up the Qipco 2,000 Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas to overseas runners should increase interest in the big races, which are set to be staged on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 in the adjusted racing calendar this summer.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant there's been no UK or Irish racing since mid-March but the action across the Irish Sea has been given the green light to return on June 8, while the plan is for racing in Britain to be back slightly earlier, on June 1, with the first Group 1 of the disrupted season - the Coronation Cup- due to take place at Newmarket on June 5.
The BHA has confirmed foreign-trained runners will be allowed in the Coronation Cup as well as the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas that follow in the next two days after.
A BHA statement said: "These discussions have been held against the backdrop of an overriding desire to see racing resume in Britain as soon as possible, with all the necessary protocols in place, such that we can ensure that racing can continue and ultimately revert to its pre-agreed programme.
"Should racing resume on this date [June 1], it is agreed that protecting ourselves against unnecessary risk in the opening few weeks is a responsible and proportionate approach.
"As a result, foreign-trained runners will only be permitted to run in the three Group 1 races taking place in Britain during the first fortnight...in order to help facilitate a safe and smooth resumption."
Champion Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has won four of the last five 2,000 Guineas and three of the last four of the 1,000 Guineas with the likes of Saxon Warrior, Magna Grecia, Winter and Hermosa, and he will likely be now finalising what horses to consider for both races.
It's also been announced no overseas runners will be allowed to compete in Listed, Group 2 and Group 3 races until June 15, while no internationally-based horses will take part in any races of Class 2 level and below as it stands, due to concerns about elimination levels.
Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.