OUR countdown has begun.
The British Horseracing Authority’s bigwigs have been beavering away and are confident we will be racing behind closed doors on June 1.
And they have more high-octane action planned than you would find in a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster.
Mind you, our French friends had to take one on the chin earlier this week.
Their government withdrew permission for racing to continue in Paris as the city is still being held to ransom by coronavirus.
The funny thing is our racing is supposed to start with a couple of days on the all-weather at Newcastle.
And that decision would get a big thumbs down from the number crunchers over at Public Health England.
See, they reckon that while fewer than 24 people are catching coronavirus each day in London, there are 4,000 daily infections being reported in the North-East.
Looking at those figures you don’t need a consultation with Doctor Kildare to deduce that Kempton and Lingfield would be safer launching pads than Newcastle.
Still, if all goes to plan we are only a fortnight away from the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
That means Aidan O’Brien will be spending time locked in a dark room shuffling his pack.
And the word is Ballydoyle’s boss thinks he’s got a couple of aces up his sleeve in Arizona and Wichita.
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With that in mind, it was interesting to hear Paddy Power’s main man Paul Binfield report serious dough for Arizona in the ante-post market.
Top man Binners said: “Arizona is our worst result in the 2000 Guineas and he’s getting our traders into a bit of a state.
“He was 16-1 for the race after his two-length defeat by favourite Pinatubo in the Dewhurst, but rumours that a drone couldn’t keep up with him on the gallops mean he’s halved in price.”
Talking of rapid workouts, the word is wily William Haggas has a flying machine on his hands in Al Aasy.
This fella caught more eyes than a naturist in Piccadilly when he finished third in a piping-hot Newmarket maiden last autumn.
And my mole at HQ reckons he has come on a ton for that leg-loosener.
Handy Haggas’s colt has been backed from 50s to 20-1 for the Derby this week and could be a bit special.
Cheerful Charlie Fellowes is another trainer with a spring in his step.
You see, Chas is besotted with soft-ground specialist King Ottokar and is chuffed that his first target – the Brigadier Gerard Stakes – has been re-routed to Haydock.
He said: “Haydock is a lovely, flat track and if you’re going to get rain in any part of the country, you’d have to think it’s more possible in the north west.
“He’ll be trained for the race, but much like if it had been at Newmarket, I wouldn’t run him unless I was 100 per cent happy with the ground.”
And remember to stick Charlie’s two-year-old Vadream in your notebook
He reckons she’s got more gears than a Ferrari and will be winning sooner rather than later.
By the way, I’m told British bookies weren’t best pleased when Oftenwork (9-2 to 19-10) landed a touch in the French provinces on Wednesday.
The horse was backed as if he was `le certainty’ and hosed up under a cool as a cucumber ride from claiming jockey Lily Le Pemp.
Now, little Lily wouldn’t be a household name. But as far as the layers are concerned she’s a blooming nuisance.
Finally, three long-faced punters were overheard chatting in the pub.
The first fella says, “I think my wife is having an affair with the electrician. The other day I came home and found wire cutters under our bed and they weren't mine."
His pal pipes up, "That’s funny, I reckon my wife is having an affair with the plumber. The other day I found a wrench under the bed and it wasn't mine."
The third fella put his pint down and mumbled, "Well I think my wife is having an affair with a horse."
His pals are still picking their chins off the floor when he explains.
“I’m not joking…The other day I came home and found a jockey under our bed."
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