Newmarket crowd pilot remains on course for next week

Plans for a limited-capacity pilot event over three days at Newmarket next week remain on track.

Pilots for racing have so far proved stop-start, with a planned 5,000-strong attendance on the final day of Glorious Goodwood being called off the day before, and hopes of trialling crowds at all four days of last week’s St Leger meeting at Doncaster lasting only as far as the first afternoon.

But the pilot pencilled in for the Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket on September 24-26 is still in place, following discussions with local public authorities and the course’s safety advisory group.

The 1,000-person Newmarket pilot is part of a series of trials across a range of different sports that have been approved by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport and will take place with stringent health and safety measures at the venue.

Racegoers briefly made it back to Doncaster last week
Racegoers briefly made it back to Doncaster last week (David Davies/PA)

Warwick is due to stage a smaller spectator trial on Monday and a Jockey Club Racecourses statement said constructive discussions continue with local stakeholders ahead of a further statement being made.

Amy Starkey, who runs Newmarket as east regional director for JCR, said: “We’re pleased to be working closely with local authorities to stage a limited spectator trial at the Rowley Mile over the course of the Cambridgeshire meeting.

“The racecourse is a vast, predominantly outdoor environment that could safely space out several thousand people, not just the maximum 1,000 who will be in attendance with stringent health and safety measures in place.

“The Newmarket trial will provide important insights we can share across our industry and with other sports, so that when it is possible to welcome some level of spectators back to events more regularly in the future we are well equipped to do so.”

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