ALBEIT with some substantial changes, the Irish flat racing season got underway as scheduled on Monday, one of the few major sporting events across Europe still going ahead. The main difference is that the races are taking place behind closed doors, making for an odd atmosphere for all involved as horses cross the finishing line in near silence. The small town of Naas was the venue for the season opener with 8-15 favourite Sir Dragonet (Aidan O’Brien) being beaten by the well regarded Poetic Flare (2-1) in the season opener. Sir Dragonet was a narrow loser in last year’s Derby and his stable are confident that this race was just an early season blip. To ensure Irish racing can continue it will remain behind closed doors while social distancing is being rigorously enforced.