Wetherby is willing to lend Flat racing a hand says chief executive Jonjo Sanderson

The scene at Wetherby when it raced behind closed doors on March 17.The scene at Wetherby when it raced behind closed doors on March 17.
The scene at Wetherby when it raced behind closed doors on March 17. | JPIMedia
OFFICIALS at Wetherby are open to the possibilty of staging Flat fixtures in the summer if it helps racing resume following the Covid-19 lockdown.
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Wetherby’s last stand before closure

The predominantly National Hunt track was due to stage the first of three Flat meetings this Sunday – its traditional Family Fun Day.

However this fixture has had to be cancelled and there is also no prospect of the evening meeting on May 12 taking place.

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This was the scene at Wetherby when the last racing in Britain was staged on March 17.This was the scene at Wetherby when the last racing in Britain was staged on March 17.
This was the scene at Wetherby when the last racing in Britain was staged on March 17. | JPIMedia

The racecourse, which staged the country’s last jumps fixture last month before the cessation of racing, is still due to stage its popular Ladies Day meeting on June 9.

However chief executive Jonjo Sanderson accepts the whole fixture list, including this meeting, will be up for discussion if – and it is by no means certain – racing is in a position to return by then.

“We are quite prepared to race in June and July to get racing going and to help Wetherby with its finances,” said Sanderson.

“If racing doesn’t resume in a timely matter, and given the need to get the track ready for the 2020-21 NH season, we will withdraw from that process.”

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Meanwhile record-breaking trainer Mark Johnston is continuing his recovery after contracting coronavirus.

The Middleham handler has been isolating since having his symptoms confirmed last week, but is reported to be making good progress.

His son Angus said on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme: “He had a couple of days in bed, but was back up yesterday and is starting to move around.

“He’s eager to get back to work, mum is having to put the brakes on him and telling him to keep calm, Charlie (Johnston) is doing an amazing job of running things as normal. All the horses are getting out and everything is running really smoothly.”

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Johnston’s wife, Deirdre, added: “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, thankfully his breathing was always fine and he didn’t have to go to hospital.”

Meanwhile, Deirdre and Angus have become internet sensations of late, entertaining viewers on social media channels with their ‘Kingsley House Acoustic Sessions’.