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Horse racing will return to Newmarket on Thursday ahead of Guineas weekend after government gives green light for professional sport to resume next week

Newmarket's Rowley Mile is set to return to business, albeit behind closed doors, from Thursday next week after the government gave the much anticipated green light for live sport to resume from Monday.

The first time town trainers will be able to put their horses back to competitive action with be up at Newcastle on Monday.

Racing will then return to HQ with a four-day run from Thursday, including ITV broadcasting live action on Friday as well as the following Guineas festival weekend with the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas headline races.

Makfi and Christophe Lemair WINStanJames.com 2000 Guineas StakesPic: Louise Pollard/Racingfotos.com (35613485)
NEWMARKET 1st MAY 2010 Makfi and Christophe Lemair WINStanJames.com 2000 Guineas StakesPic: Louise Pollard/Racingfotos.com (35613485)

The secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Oliver Dowden, told this afternoon's government press conference: "For more than two months after sport stopped, and after weeks of round the clock discussions with medical experts and professional sports bodies, I am delighted to announce today that the government has published guidance which allows competitive sport to resume behind closed doors from Monday at the earliest. And crucially, only when it is safe to do so.

"It is up to each individual sport to decide exactly when to resume competition; they know their sports best but football, tennis, horse racing, formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly with horse racing first out of the gate in the north east next week.

"It has been a huge challenge to get to this point. We have taken a forensic clinician-led approach working with Public Health England and the Department of Health every step of the way."

He added working with the sports' governing bodies they had been able to provide a "collaborative consensual effort to provide the safest environment for everyone".

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)'s official Twitter account reacted saying: "It will be great to be back".

Newcastle is set to host the first meeting in this country since March 17, when the sport was closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Newmarket is likely to be well represented in the north east as the likes of John Ryan, George Scott, Marco Botti, Roger Varian, John Gosden and James Tate have all signalled their intention to run horses.

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