Horse Racing: Limited spectators set to return

Horse Racing have confirmed that spectators will be allowed to return to the track next month in areas with lower coronavirus infection rates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that Tier 1 and 2 areas would be allowed to host spectators in both outdoor and indoor venues. Numbers and capacity limits will apply.

Examples reported are that 4,000 spectators or 50 per cent capacity limits – whichever is lowest – would be in place in tier 1, dropping to 2,000 or 50 per cent for indoor venues and in tier 2, it has been reported it would be 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors, or 50 per cent capacity.

Horse racing has been taking place behind closed doors since 1st June, with the exception of two small pilot events at Warwick and Doncaster. Participants attending under tight restrictions including medical screening and social distancing. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced a £300million ‘Winter Survival Package’ of loans and grants to sports which are facing financial losses as a result of the absence of fans from stadiums.

BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust stated “This is more good news for racing and for our many millions of fans who have been unable to watch in person the sport they love since March. We know the numbers are limited to begin with and not all venues will be allowed to admit spectators, but this is progress. I am confident that all our racegoers will follow the government’s public health guidelines when they return to racing and this will allow us to increase the numbers attending. We have always said that racing will act responsibly and we all look forward to getting back on the track.”

David Armstrong, the Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association, commented “Following on from last week’s announcement of financial support, this is a very welcome development for racecourses across England. Even with limited numbers, racecourses can start to re‐open facilities for racegoers, hospitality guests and owners. Work continues to prepare for larger-scale pilots across the sports sector and Racing will continue to play a key role in this vital recovery phase.”

The Horse Exchange are delighted for everyone involved in the racing community.