Excitement builds among trainers with resumption hopefully only days away
Anticipation and excitement is beginning to build among British trainers as they work towards the potential return of the sport from June 1, with entries for the first fixture at Newcastle opening on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Brant Dunshea, the BHA's chief regulatory officer, said he was "incredibly confident" government would allow the sport to resume next Monday and the news came as a huge boost to trainers.
"We just want to get back racing, it's as simple as that," said Bryan Smart. "We're happy that hopefully we'll be able to return on June 1. It's important we can stay safe and get back to the job we love.
"We've kept going throughout. A lot of horses might be balloted out, particularly in the first week, and we'll have to put up with that. We'll enter the runners and may have to tell owners we were balloted out.
"We'll be ready to go when the races are there for us. There's a bigger picture for everybody and there's always another day."
On racing being among the first professional sports to return, Smart added: "We're not a contact sport and it can be done safely. If it's done right and we follow rules, the wider public will be fine."
There is plenty of optimism in Lambourn too and, with a clear schedule to work towards, Clive Cox is pleased with the preparation of his horses, including last year's Solario winner Positive.
"The mood at the moment is very positive," said Cox. "We've had a great preparation with all the horses and have been able to do exactly what we want, while keeping a little bit up our sleeves with some of the ones who don't yet have a final target to steer at."
The first meeting of the year will take place at Newcastle but Cox said he does not plan to send runners to faraway meetings on a regular basis due to the realities of travelling up and back in a day.
"It's all about common sense," he added. "We may look at some key races differently but the journey does make a difference to our day-to-day plans. The logistics of travelling to somewhere like Newcastle, with things like refuelling, will have a bearing on our decisions."
That view is shared by Newmarket trainer Amy Murphy, who holds a dual licence and is used to being busy all year. She also said her yard has adjusted well to the situation and that preparations are underway.
"You'd probably only go to Newcastle with a live chance," said Murphy. "It certainly won't be high on our list early doors though.
"There's a bit of a buzz in Newmarket. Everybody is really looking forward to resumption but it's out of our hands. We're trying to focus on the positives and are keeping everything crossed."
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