UK Racing Awaits UK Govt Notice On Fixtures Allowed To Host Crowds

Racecourse officials are awaiting news from the UK Government on which facilities will be permitted to host pilot events as racing pens plans in preparation of bringing back crowds.

Originally expected to attend the final day of last month’s Qatar Goodwood Festival alongside four bookmakers, a crowd of 5,000. But, following an announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called off the pilot event citing concerns about the risk of infection with coronavirus, those plans were scuppered.

The government has since provided the green light to welcome crowds for a limited number of sporting events, beginning with this weekend’s World Snooker Championship final at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, told Sky Sports Racing: “I know Doncaster are up and ready to undertake a trial and have advanced plans, so fingers crossed for that.

“It’s hugely important because across the entire economy you need to get people back. In racing we have really stringent protocols. Racing is an outside sport and there is lots of outdoor space available.

“Please God we can get people back and back safely because it’s a long road ahead for so many different industries but ours in particular if we can’t.”

Racing leaders hope that if the pilot events are secure then with social distancing steps in place from 1 October, further racing events can be reopened.

The Doncaster Racecourse was selected as one of the tracks that could host a pilot event, with the four-day St Leger Festival being proposed as a possibility, beginning on September 9 and finishing on September 12.