© Photo Healy Racing
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has issued details of how they will decide which horses get to run in two-year-old races at Royal Ascot.
Royal Ascot is scheduled to take place from June 16-20 which is in the third week after racing resumes in Britain on June 1, but only one full week after racing resumes in Ireland on June 8. This leaves a very small window for two-year-old to show their ability on the racecourse prior to the big races.
Elimination from Royal Ascot races for 2-Y-Os will be based purely on previous finishing positions, with priority given in the following order:
1. Horses that have won an Open Novice or Maiden race
2. Horses that have won a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
3. Horses that have finished second in an Open Novice or Maiden race
4. Horses that have finished second in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
5. Horses that have finished third in an Open Novice or Maiden race
6. Horses that have finished third in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
7. Horses that have finished fourth in an Open Novice or Maiden race
8. Horses that have finished fourth in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
9. Unraced horses
10. Horses that have run but have not been placed in the first four
All races at Royal Ascot will have safety limits of 24 runners including the handicaps.
The five 2-Y-O races at Royal Ascot have been scheduled to take place towards the end of the five-day event. The Listed Chesham stakes will be run on Thursday 18th June with the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes and Group 3 Albany Stakes on the Friday. The Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes and Group 2 Coventry Stakes are on the final day.
A total of 24 Irish trained 2-Y-Os ran at the meeting last year but while all Irish trained juveniles are eligible to enter again this year it will be difficult for them to get into any of the final fields.
There are realistically only four races available to Irish trainers in order to qualify their 2-Y-Os for Royal Ascot. When Irish racing resumes on June 8 at Naas there will be two races for the juveniles and there will two more at Navan on June 10. No 2-Y-O races are planned for Leopardstown on June 9 or Gowran Park on June 11.
The Curragh will host a juvenile race on each day of their two-day Guineas fixture on June 12 and 13 but that would be an extremely tight turnaround to make Royal Ascot.
There are no 2-Y-O races open to Irish trained horses in the UK prior to June 15.
The BHA also issued some additional detail on maximum field sizes for all other races run behind closed doors. Normal racecourse limits will only apply to Pattern and Listed races whereas all other races will be restricted to a maximum of 12 runners.