June 2020 Sports Update | Latest Racing & Sports Betting

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Well, it has been a couple of months like no others in our experience, but the positive going forward is that sports are returning, albeit in a highly modified form.

The timing could not be better, as the Group Thoroughbred racing season is winding down toward the end of the 2019-2020 racing season.

Horse racing managed to persist and there is some top level racing, with the bulk taking place in Queensland.

We see that on the first weekend of June, there should be three Group 1 races, and three Group 2s.

Group 1 races are the Stradbroke Handicap, the T J Smith and the Queensland Derby. The Group 2s are the Queensland Guineas, the Brisbane Cup and the Dane Ripper Quality.

The middle weekend of the month offers the Group 1 Winter Stakes, and Groups 3s in the Tattersalls Cup and the W J Healy Stakes.

Western Australian racing action in June includes the Group 3 Hyperion Stakes and the Group 3 Strickland Stakes nearer the end of June.

The final weekend in June finds a Group 3 being run at Sunshine Coast; the Sunshine Coast Guineas.

We are not sure how we would have managed had racing not persisted to fill the void created by the stoppages of the AFL and NRL.

As we are preparing this, the kickoff of the restarted 2020 Telstra NRL Premiership competition is just hours off. It is going to feel odd to turn on the telly and see Brisbane Broncos versus Parramatta Eels at an empty Suncorp Stadium, but judging from the bookie websites, this game should be a cracker.

There was some rumbling and grumbling from several corners. The players seemed to feel they should receive full pay, while a certain recent premiership coach, whose club lost its first two, thought the clock should be reset to zero, which to us serves as an indication of some return of normalcy.

The AFL plans to resume on June 11, with Collingwood and Richmond taking the MCG ground. It will be the official start of Round 2 of the Toyota 2020 AFL Premiership competition. There will be limited travel between clubs at first, although there will be a few interstate fixtures.

We do not care where they play, so long as they do. When the AFL called a halt after the first round, we felt like kids limited to one present for Christmas while looking at the untouchable pile under the tree.

This is the time of year when many of us would be following the NBA in the course of its marathon playoff series. If memory serves, the NBA, in a normal year, would be down to the final four clubs, with best-of-sevens for the Western and Eastern Conferences.

The NBA seems to be trending toward a playoff tournament, although there have been discussions of a few regular season games, mainly to benefit those clubs that are on the fringe between playoffs and vacationing for the balance of the season.

Major League Baseball (MLB) is still dithering and the outlook for the 2020 season appears dim. Most recently, the players balked at the league’s suggestion that the highest paid stars forego a hefty percentage of their salaries.

In all of the above sports codes, it is hard not to feel some sympathy for those players on the cusp of retirement, but it is reasonable to believe that most players would prefer less money than risking death.

Professional golf should resume before the end of June, without spectators, but it is unclear to us whether the PGA Tour will be asking players to compete for reduced prizemoney.

Punters have had to be creative during March, April and May.

All we can do is hope that a resumption does not lead to a surge in cases of the Covid-19 pandemic. If that happens, it would be disheartening in the extreme if sports were again halted.

Statisticians on the other hand, might find themselves facing a shortage of asterisks, as all the meaningful numbers have been subject to an upheaval that will find plenty of media sports commentators frequently using the phrase, “Not since WW II…” in one form or another.