British trainers in the dark with travel plans for Classics and Royal Ascot as they gear up for resumption

BRITISH trainers are dusting off their passports as they look to make comeback plans for their horses.

But it could be in vain as they remained in the dark over whether the likes of Germany, France and Ireland will even let their horseboxes in.

With no date set for a resumption on home turf, unlike in both Germany and France who have May 1 and 11 restarts planned behind closed doors, trainers are scratching their heads as they attempt to plot routes for some of their better horses.

It’s not uncommon for Flat trainers to campaign their string abroad, even less so the well trodden path over to Ireland.

For example, last year’s Irish 2000 Guineas was won by Phoenix Of Spain, trained in England, with the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket won by Irish raider Magna Grecia.

Whether that will be possible this season remains up in the air.

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Lambourn trainer William Muir famously stated his Pyledriver ‘would win the Irish Guineas’ but now even he’s been forced into a rethink.

He said: “I’m none the wiser whether we’ll be able to stick to our original plan.

“I know mares are still travelling across to be covered but that’s a different situation.

“I don’t think the Irish Racing board have made up their minds yet, they haven’t said anything to anyone here.

“The government over there may say no way, we’re not having people from Britain coming over.”

Original entries for the Guineas at Newmarket have been scrapped, but the entries for the Irish equivalent and Derby have stood, only adding to the confusion.

Roger Charlton, trainer of the unbeaten 1000 Guineas favourite Quadrilateral, is at sea with the current situation too.

He said: “If the race is rescheduled to be on June 5, that is still five weeks away, so there's no rush.

"I think what's interesting is whether we're allowed to go to Ireland or France or vice versa, because at the entry stage, there were 71 fillies entered but only 13 of them from the UK, so 80% of the entries in the original 1000 Guineas came from Ireland and I think one from France.”

French racing authorities have made it clear that British horses will not be welcome until at least June, leaving the door ajar for their first Classics.

But Yorkshire trainer Karl Burke is now looking at the option of sending some of his team to Germany and has entered Kelly's Dino and Emaraty Hero at Cologne next Friday.

He said: "I'm not sure we will be allowed to run, but I've not heard for definite yet.

"We want to run, the horses are ready to run, but having spoken to a few trainers in Germany, we might not be allowed to travel.

"If we are allowed to run, we will have to see how we get them there.

"The Channel Tunnel is still running, so I don't think it would be a major issue and it would be possible to do it within the confines of isolation and safety."

Royal Ascot is also usually full of challengers from the USA, Ireland, France and even Australia.

That could all change this summer too, with a behind closed doors meeting not sure to open its gates to international runners.

Nick Smith, Director of racing at Ascot, said: “Ascot, and British Racing generally, will be dependent on governmental regulations with regards to equine travel within Europe.

“The BHA and its counterparts will discuss this at the appropriate time.”


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