01 October 2020

Racing League to kick off at Newcastle

01 October 2020

The Racing League will stage its first fixture at Newcastle on July 29 next year – with almost £2 million up for grabs over six scheduled fixtures.

Created by Championship Horse Racing, the new concept was supposed to begin this season – but given the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, it was delayed.

There will be six races at each meeting, all set to offer £50,000 in prize money.

As well as Newcastle, the other fixtures are at Doncaster (August 5), Lingfield (August 12 and 26) and Windsor (August 19) – before the league reaches a conclusion back at Gosforth Park on September 2.

Championship Horse Racing’s CEO Jeremy Wray told Sky Sports Racing, on whose channel all the races will be televised: “Hopefully it’s a small beacon of light in a pretty depressing background – hopefully it’s good news for the sport.

“We’ll have 12 teams, all in their own bespoke colours, (and) jockeys will ride just for one designated team with their names on the back of the shirt. Anyone who has watched other team sports will recognise the format.

“We’ve got six meetings, from Newcastle and Doncaster in the north to Windsor and Lingfield in the south – it’s consecutive Thursday evenings, six races each night.

“The format will be consistent each week. Regular racegoers will be pleased to see 12-runner races right through the card, and hopefully if we get spectators there it will be a fun-filled day from early afternoon.”

Each team is set to comprise horses from a collaboration of stables.

Wray added: “Some of the larger trainers are pairing up, with smaller trainers going as many as four to a team, and they’ll have a squad of up to 30 horses – plotting their way through using that squad, with a transfer window in about week three or four, as we don’t want them running out of horses.

“The important thing is that they only use these horses, because we want to build up familiarity and consistency so that people recognise the jockeys and horses with a certain team.

“Broadly, racing has been very supportive. But any initiative that is offering £50,000 per race to their beleaguered owners in a 0-90 handicap, you’d expect it – as it is six or seven times what they’d normally race for.

“We’ll announce details later of an overall prize, so trainer and jockeys have a real incentive to try and win the league.”

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