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Coronavirus: Horse racing under way and snooker to make a comeback as live sports return | UK News



Horse racing is under way and snooker is set to make a comeback on Monday as live sports return following the easing of lockdown measures.

Greyhound racing was the first sport to resume with Im Sophie taking victory in the 10:21am at Perry Barr.

The sport had last been staged behind closed doors in March before the shutdown, and has returned following successful trials at most tracks in the last two weeks.

It came before horse racing made its eagerly-anticipated return at Newcastle with social distancing measures in place and jockeys wearing protective masks.

Greyhound racing is under way at Perry Barr
Greyhound racing is under way at Perry Barr

James Sullivan and Zodiakos won the Betway Welcome Back British Racing Handicap at the racecourse on Monday.

Ten races will take place ahead of a high-profile event at Newmarket at the weekend.

Meetings were last held on 17 March when action took place behind closed doors because of the spread of COVID-19.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust said: “Our focus is obviously on returning safely and protecting all those taking part in behind closed doors racing, while also reassuring the communities that racing takes place in that the risk of transmitting the virus has been minimised.

“We’re all very passionate about racing and like the participants and anyone connected with the sport, we’ve all missed it.”

Jockeys are wearing masks at the race track in Newcastle on Monday
Jockeys wear masks at the race track in Newcastle on Monday

Judd Trump was scheduled to kickstart snooker’s return at 3pm in the opening match of the Championship League in Milton Keynes.

The tournament, the first since the Gibraltar Open in March when the coronavirus pandemic forced a shutdown, will be staged behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena until 11 June.

Trump tweeted: “Arrived in Milton Keynes test done hopefully all clear for action tomorrow… swab up the nose is not enjoyable at all enjoy that everyone.”

Oliver Dowden

New guidelines on live sports and exercise

Football is also gearing up for a return to action behind closed doors.

The Premier League announced on Thursday that games would resume on 17 June, while the English Football League (EFL) said it had agreed a provisional return date of 20 June for the Championship.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said having his team members back together is a “massive, massive lift” as his side prepare to wrap up a first league title in 30 years.

Championship sides Leeds and West Brom are looking to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said: “With Sky Bet Championship clubs set to return to full contact training later this week and following Saturday’s government announcement, we are edging closer towards resuming the 2019/20 EFL season.

“We have therefore today consulted with the board’s Championship directors and agreed to fixtures restarting behind closed doors on 20 June.

“Whilst matches will unfortunately have to take place without supporters, we are working with our broadcast partners, EFL Championship clubs and all relevant stakeholders to broadcast the remaining 108 games plus Sky Bet Championship play-offs either live on Sky Sports, iFollow or a club’s equivalent streaming service.”

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