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Scottish National and Greenham moved to Sunday as mark of respect for funeral of Duke of Edinburgh

The high-profile meetings at Ayr and Newbury scheduled for Saturday have been switched to the following afternoon as a mark of respect for the funeral ceremony of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

It was announced on Friday the Duke of Edinburgh had died at the age of 99, with his funeral to take place at Windsor Castle next weekend at 3pm. A national minute’s silence will be observed as the ceremonial royal funeral begins.

Sporting bodies have been in discussions regarding plans for next Saturday’s fixtures, with the Football League announcing that matches scheduled to begin at 3pm will be rearranged.

Jockeys, owners and trainers stand for a two-minute silence at Aintreee
Jockeys, owners and trainers stand for a two-minute silence at Aintree (David Davies/Jockey Club)

The British Horseracing Authority has now confirmed no racing will take place in Great Britain between 2.45pm and 4.15pm – and as a result, the Coral Scottish Grand National fixture at Ayr and the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting at Newbury will now be held on Sunday.

Saturday’s meetings at Bangor, Thirsk, Brighton and Nottingham will go ahead but with different start times to ensure races do not clash with the ceremony. Start times will be announced on Monday.

The BHA said in a statement: “British racing will continue to appropriately reflect the period of national mourning at fixtures through to Saturday, April 17, including wearing of black armbands and flags flying at half-mast.”

The sponsors of the Scottish National feel the switch “is definitely the right thing to do”.

it would feel entirely inappropriate to stage the race next Saturday under the circumstances.

“This is definitely the right thing to do out of respect for the occasion and the Royal family, and we would like to commend the BHA and the various stakeholders for the speed and flexibility they’ve shown in making this decision,” said Simon Clare, Ladbrokes Coral PR director.

“Scottish Grand National day is a day of celebration of one of the sport’s most prestigious races and it would feel entirely inappropriate to stage the race next Saturday under the circumstances.

“The fact we are racing behind closed doors means it is much easier to shift a big meeting back a day than in a normal year, and we are very appreciative of ITV’s support in agreeing to broadcast the meeting on Sunday.”

Sporting bodies in talks after Prince Philip’s funeral set for next Saturday

Sporting bodies are in discussions regarding plans for next Saturday’s fixtures following confirmation that Prince Philip’s funeral will take place at Windsor Castle that afternoon.

A national minute’s silence will be observed as the ceremonial royal funeral begins at 3pm.

The funeral will take place on a busy sporting weekend with the FA Cup semi-finals, a full Football League programme, the Women’s Six Nations and the opening day of the World Snooker Championship among the events on the calendar.

The Football League has announced that matches scheduled to begin at 3pm will be rearranged.

An EFL spokesperson said: “As a mark of respect, EFL matches scheduled for 3pm on Saturday 17 April will be moved to avoid a clash with the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“The EFL will now work with its clubs to determine at what time the matches will be played, giving consideration to the timing of the service.

“An announcement will follow in due course.”

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The Football Association, Premier League and the England and Wales Cricket Board are all in dialogue with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regarding arrangements while the Women’s Six Nations is awaiting guidance, the PA news agency understands.

Barnsley v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Oakwell
A two-minute silence was observed at football grounds across the country on Saturday (Isaac Parkin/PA)

In the Premier League, Wolves are due to host Sheffield United at 3pm, following the lunchtime fixture between Newcastle and West Ham.

The FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City is due to kick-off at 5.30pm at Wembley.

The Government’s published advice regarding the period of national mourning states: “The decision as to whether sporting fixtures continue to go ahead is at the discretion of organisers.

“Organisers may wish to consider using black armbands and observing a silence before matches are played.”

In Scotland, Rangers are due to host Celtic at 4pm, one of six fourth-round ties scheduled in the Scottish Cup.

A Scottish Football Association statement read: “In light of confirmation that the funeral of HRH Prince Philip will take place next Saturday at 3pm, we have entered dialogue with the relevant stakeholders with regard to Scottish Cup fourth round fixtures scheduled on that day.

“We will update participating clubs, supporters and partners in due course.”

The British Horseracing Authority will also hold discussions regarding its own plans.

The biggest race next weekend is the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr, which is due off at 3.35pm, while it also is the Greenham meeting at Newbury.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Players from Crystal Palace and Chelsea observed the two-minute silence (Mike Hewitt/PA)

On Saturday, tributes were paid at sporting grounds up and down the country following Buckingham Palace’s announcement a day earlier that the Duke had died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 99.

Sportsmen and women observed a two-minute silence at the start of fixtures, and wore black armbands as a mark of respect, including at Aintree.

The Football Association announced flags at Wembley and St George’s Park will fly at half-mast.

EFL chair Rick Parry said of the Duke: “As a patron of over 800 organisations, his high regard for the encouragement of sport and welfare of young people was unequivocal, and his loss will undoubtedly be felt not only here in the UK but across the world.”

British Olympic Association chair, Sir Hugh Robertson, also paid tribute to the Duke.

“I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, and especially to our President HRH The Princess Royal. The thoughts of the nation are with them all at this time,” he said.

Death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen’s consort for almost 70 years, has died at the age of 99.

While never an owner in racing himself, he had been an honorary member of the Jockey Club since 1947 and was a regular companion of the Queen at Royal Ascot.

A statement issued by the royal family read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course.

“The royal family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

The Duke of Edinburgh Handicap is staged at the royal meeting each year, but one of the Duke’s most enjoyable tasks at Ascot was when presenting the Queen’s Vase to Her Majesty after Estimate won in 2012.

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The Duke of Edinburgh presents the Queen with the Queen's Vase in 2012
The Duke of Edinburgh presents the Queen with the Queen’s Vase in 2012 (Tim Ireland/PA)

Sir Francis Brooke Bt, Her Majesty’s representative at Ascot, said in a statement: “We extend our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at this time.

“We have very happy memories of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at Ascot where he accompanied Her Majesty The Queen on so many occasions and shared in her successes.

“One of the most memorable moments was in 2012 when His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh presented Her Majesty The Queen with the Queen’s Vase after Estimate’s victory.”

Estimate would go on to win the Gold Cup at Ascot the following year, providing the Queen with one of her greatest victories as an owner.

Two minutes silence was observed prior to day two of the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree, while all jockeys sported black armbands.

Sir Anthony McCoy
Sir Anthony McCoy (Mike Egerton/PA)

In his role as a pundit for ITV Racing, 20-time champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy paid his tribute.

McCoy said: “First and foremost my deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal family.

“I was very lucky to spend time in Prince Philip’s company at Windsor Castle. He was a very interesting man and a really good polo player in his younger days.

“He was really keen on carriage driving and really good at it as well.

“A moment that really stands out for me was when he presented Her Majesty the Queen with the Queen’s Vase when Estimate in 2012 – I can remember thinking that was a special moment, probably for Her Majesty, but also for horse racing as well.”

Nicky Henderson with the Queen
Nicky Henderson with the Queen (Barry Batchelor/PA)

Leading trainer Nicky Henderson, who has trained many horses for the Queen, said: “It was an enormous shock and it’s a very sad day. I know the whole nation’s condolences go to Her Majesty.

“Prince Philip has been a remarkable man and Her Majesty’s absolute stalwart for so many years. He has served this country and served Her Majesty so well.

“I know racing wasn’t his favourite sport, but I know he enjoyed many other equestrian activities.

“It was a wonderful life of serving our Queen and country and I think we should all be saying an enormous thank you for what he’s done.”