Spectators to return in pilot events from September

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  • The St Leger Festival at Doncaster (9 to 12 September) will be the first racing fixture to welcome spectators back to the track since March.

    The meeting is the first scheduled racing pilot event to take place with crowds, following the eleventh-hour cancellation of Goodwood’s doors being allowed to open to the public in August.

    The Racecourse Association (RCA), industry partners and its member racecourses, provided a joint submission to the Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to host pilot events, which has been approved.

    Two other fixtures are also scheduled to welcome spectators. These are Warwick’s jumps fixture on 21 September and Newmarket racecourse’s Cambridgeshire meeting (24 to 26 September).

    “We are pleased to receive confirmation of our pilot events to welcome back crowds to racecourses and once again thank DCMS for entrusting the sport with this responsibility,” said RCA chief executive, David Armstrong.

    “Racecourses have been working for some time to this end and we are confident the events selected will provide strong case studies which will be of use to all.

    “The disappointment of postponing our last confirmed pilot at Goodwood was felt across the sport, but the learnings and behind-the-scenes work have been of great value to others. Racing is ready to proceed in a safe manner and we are looking forward to once again welcoming crowds back to the racecourse.”

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    The pilot events in England will test stage five of the government’s return to elite sport plan as well as operating protocols prescribed by the Sports Ground Safety Authority.

    Each racecourse was required to submit a detailed risk assessment and operating plan to DCMS, and each fixture has been selected to provide a detailed case study for other racecourses to follow.

    Scottish Racing is in discussions with the Scottish Government, with details to be “confirmed in due course”.

    Similar discussions are also under way with the Welsh Government.

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