Le­ices­ter has go-ahead un­der re­in­stated restrictio­ns but lead­ing crit­ics stay away

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Racing - By Marcus Army­tage

Rac­ing re­turns to Le­ices­ter today a week af­ter sev­eral train­ers with­drew horses from a meet­ing there and two-thirds of the stalls han­dlers re­fused to work af­ter the city had been put back into lock­down.

The Bri­tish Horseracin­g Author­ity made the de­ci­sion on Fri­day and, although rac­ing at Le­ices­ter re­mains “un­der re­view should cir­cum­stances change sub­stan­tially”, the restrictio­ns which were in place in the rest of the coun­try on June 12 have been re­in­stated.

Rac­ing was per­mit­ted at that time and is there­fore al­lowed to go ahead now. How­ever, although two own­ers per horse can go rac­ing else­where now, this will not be al­lowed at tonight’s fix­ture be­cause they were pro­hib­ited from rac­ing on June 12.

The big­gest prob­lem ahead of last week’s meet­ing was the short time be­tween Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock’s state­ment that the city was go­ing back into lock­down and the fix­ture, which did not give the BHA long to com­mu­ni­cate with all train­ers.

RaceTech has as­sured the BHA it will have the full com­ple­ment of stalls han­dlers and that the starter will not have to re­sort to “flip starts”. The meet­ing has at­tracted 61 run­ners – about the av­er­age – although there are none from three of the last meet­ing’s prin­ci­pal crit­ics, Graeme McPher­son, Alan King and Mick Ap­pleby.

John Gos­den, mean­while, is look­ing for­ward to the rest of the campaign with En­able, de­spite the mare suf­fer­ing the third de­feat of her ca­reer on her sea­sonal bow in Sun­day’s Co­ral-Eclipse at Sandown.

A third Prix de l’Arc de Tri­om­phe win re­mains her ul­ti­mate tar­get in the au­tumn and she sat­is­fied her trainer when sec­ond to Char­lie Ap­pleby’s Ghaiyyath over a trip short of her op­ti­mum.

“She took it well, she had a good blow af­ter the race,” Gos­den said. “It’s al­ways a worry when you haven’t run since Oc­to­ber and she was com­ing back as a six-year-old mare, but I thought her de­meanour was won­der­ful.

“You are never go­ing to catch Ghaiyyath round Sandown over a mile and a quar­ter when he gets a nice easy lead. He’s a mag­nif­i­cent horse and a great gal­loper.

“I could feel and see that her me­tab­o­lism had changed as she’s got older. She’s find­ing it hard to get tight, the race will have helped, but you can’t keep try­ing to do it at home.”

Look­ing to­wards the rest of the sea­son, Gos­den told At The Races: “The King Ge­orge would be the plan. We were lucky the Eclipse was only one day late be­cause of every­thing, so we’ll look to­wards the King Ge­orge, then York [York­shire Oaks] and Paris. I don’t want to over-race her.

“A third Arc would be an ex­tra­or­di­nary achieve­ment.”

Au­tumn tar­get: En­able (be­low) and John Gos­den covet a third Arc, af­ter she fin­ished sec­ond in the Co­ral-Eclipse

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