We're in the process of working out plans for 2021, our 18th season.
Obviously our operations for 2020 have been comprehensively affected by the covid-19 situation and the governmental reactions to it. The travel industry has perhaps been the hardest hit of all, and the restrictions on international air travel and hotel occupancy -- not to mention the limitations on in-person attendance at race meetings -- have forced the cancellation of our entire 2020 schedule. This is the first time we've ever had to cancel trips because of an external factor.
We had hoped to plug in a trip to Europe in the fall of this year, but that now appears unlikely to be possible. (You may want to keep checking the website, however, just in case things break suddenly and for the better.) The contemplated trip would be to England in October, and would feature British Champions Day at Ascot. The itinerary would be substantially the same as the "Autumn England" trip we did in 2017, and you can review that program in the "Previous Years" section of the website.
Ever the optimists, we are proceeding with preparations for 2021 -- when we hope things will have more or less returned to normal.
The first trip will be a reschedule of the Yorkshire trip we had on tap for 2020 into the same time slot for 2021. English racing fixtures tend to stay largely the same from year to year, and we've already been notified of the expected dates for the major events at York Racecourse. We expect to be able to include all the same peripheral racing and other activities in the itinerary that we had lined up for this year. The trip dates will almost certainly be May 5-13, 2021 with the optional extra York racing day being on the 13th for a departure on the 14th, and again there would be no conflict with the Kentucky Derby or Preakness.
This trip will have an early Closing Date (probably March 19, 2021) so please mark your calendar accordingly.
Next up will be a return to Ireland. This will be in either late June or early September, depending on which time period we feel offers the most and best racing opportunities once we've had a chance to review the Irish fixture list for 2021. A June trip would highlight the Irish Derby (probable trip dates within the range of June 18-28, 2021); a September itinerary would include Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and The Curragh (probable dates within the range of September 3-13, 2021). We hope to have the dates definitively resolved by late September of this year.
Finally, by popular demand, we'll be returning to Australia for a trip featuring the Melbourne Cup and stays in Sydney and the Hunter Valley in addition to Melbourne. Probable trip dates will be October 20-November 3, 2021 and we'll have you back in time for the Breeders Cup at Del Mar on November 4-5.
We expect to have the website updated with the final 2021 schedule in October and all the trip details posted by mid-to-late November. Meanwhile, please don't hesitate to get in touch -- either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by toll-free telephone at (800) 261-0499 -- if you'd like an up-to-the-minute update or have an interest in any of the trips described above.
We look forward to hearing from you and to going racing with you in 2021.