Racing: Newmarket help the hunting set

RICHARD EDMONDSON NAP: Parisian Lady (Salisbury 3.30) NB: Law Commission (Salisbury 3.00)
Racing's determination to align itself behind the pro-hunting lobby was reaffirmed yesterday when Newmarket racecourse decided to delay the start of the July Cup so that racegoers can attend a pro-field sports rally in London.

The July Cup, centrepiece of next month's July meeting, has been put back by 35 minutes in order to boost racing's presence at a rally against plans to abolish hunting. The Group One sprint will now be run at 3.40pm as the fourth race on the card on 10 July, rather than 3.05pm as originally scheduled.

Newmarket's clerk of the course, Nick Lees, explained: "It's the country sports rally in Hyde Park that day and some people said they wanted to go to both the rally and the July Cup.

"We said that we can't change the day of the July Cup and mess up the racing programme but we could put it back to the fourth race on the card which it always used to be until it was changed for television.

"So owners and trainers will be able to go the rally, which runs from 11.30am to 2pm, then zip up to Newmarket for the July Cup."

Of more concern to most racegoers is this Saturday's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle for which the Queen's Shaft Of Light was yesterday given the go-ahead to run.

Lord Huntingdon, his trainer, is unlikely to let his two other entries, Lord Jim and Snow Princess, take their chance in the pounds 100,000 handicap. The trainer made his plans after hearing that the original top-weight Jiyush had been pulled out, leading to a rise in the weights. "David Harrison will ride Shaft Of Light now that the weights have gone up," the trainer said.