Haydock Sprint may be switched to Friday

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The Independent Online
The British Horseracing Board are likely to announce this morning whether Saturday's race meetings, cancelled because of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, will be rescheduled. Saturday's five fixtures included the valuable Haydock Park Sprint Trophy and the September Stakes at Epsom, an important trial for next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Lord Wakeham, chairman of the BHB, announced yesterday: "The BHB and all the courses concerned felt that it would be inappropriate to stage racing on a day when the whole nation will be mourning the loss of a unique person. We are sure that the whole racing industry will share this view."

Now the board must decide whether to, and how to, reschedule Saturday's cards, in whole or in part.

The BHB's racing director, Paul Greeves, said: "It is a very complex matter. There is the possibility of organising Sunday racing or transferring the two Pattern races. We are discussing moving the September Stakes to Epsom's Friday card and staging the Haydock Park Sprint at either Doncaster's St Leger meeting [which begins tomorrow week] or that weekend's Goodwood meeting [12 and 13 September]."

The Group One Haydock Park Sprint could also be run on Friday's card at the Merseyside track. "It would be a preferred option for trainers," Greeves said, "as any delay would bring it into close proximity with Ascot's Diadem Stakes at the end of the month and the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp on Arc weekend."

Ireland is scheduled to race at Fairyhouse on Saturday. A Turf Club spokesman said that a decision on whether the meeting will go ahead will be made tomorrow.

Bookmakers are split over whether to open on Saturday. The Tote made an early decision to close their high street betting offices. It's public relations director, Rob Hartnett, said: "Even if racing had gone ahead we may well have closed as we believe it would have been more in keeping with the mood of the people."

However, David Hood, spokesman for William Hill, said: "We have not yet made a decision over whether or not we will open on Saturday. There is still a possibility of racing at Fairyhouse and morning greyhound meetings may be moved to the afternoon." Coral and Ladbrokes have yet to make a decision.

Flags were at half mast and a one minute's silence was observed at yesterday's meetings at Hexham and Hamilton. At the latter meeting there was a welcome, and successful return to race riding by Richard Quinn to end seven weeks of frustration on the sidelines.

Quinn, 35, was back in racecourse action after breaking his left wrist and was forced to work harder than expected before landing the odds on Generosity, who had been a Derby entry, in the maiden stakes.

"The wrist is fine - no problems. But it ended up being a bit of slog," Quinn said. "The horse got a bit upset and he was headed briefly in the closing stages before battling back. It certainly tested my fitness."

The jockey had endured a run of 48 consecutive losers when he sustained his injury at Brighton on 15 July.

"In the period that I was off I rode 48 winners last year so it was a busy time to miss. I just want to get my head down now and ride as many as possible.

"There's plenty to look forward to with Central Park running at Doncaster next week and Posidonas due to return at Salisbury later this week."

Central Park, who goes for Doncaster's Champagne Stakes, looks like one of the year's best juveniles after the form of his Goodwood win over Docksider and Little Indian was boosted by the latter's win in the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown last week.

n The Mark Johnston-trained Gothenberg, ridden by Jason Weaver, tackles the Group Three Oettingen Rennen (1m) at Baden Baden today.

n The Lewes trainer, John Ffitch-Heyes, saddles the only British runners, Ballynagussaun and Do Be Ware, in the Prix Felix de Ruyck, a hurdle race, at the Flanders track, Waregem, today.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

NAP: Stand Tall

(Pontefract 4.45)

NB: Hakeem

(Folkestone 3.30)

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