Owners still able to attend meetings – but new restrictions from Thursday

Owners will still be able to attend race meetings in England when the new Government coronavirus lockdown comes into effect on Thursday – but numbers will be reduced and time on course restricted.

No more than two owners per horse will be able to attend, complying with the restriction that limits social mixing between households.

Time on course for owners will be limited as was the case when they returned to racecourses in July. They will be able to arrive 45 minutes before their horse runs and asked to make their way home as soon as they can after the race.

Racecourses will not be able to provide hospitality, in line with the Government’s decision to close hospitality settings including restaurants, cafes and bars.

Owners look at Eponina in the parade ring ahead at Leicester
Owners look at Eponina in the parade ring ahead at Leicester (Tim Goode/PA)

A statement from racing industry leaders said: “These restrictions will be in place for the duration of the national lockdown in England, which is due to finish on December 2. Different rules are in place in Scotland and Wales, and owners should check the position with the relevant racecourse.

“The decision to allow racing to continue behind closed doors in England – with a limited number of owners attending – recognises racing’s status as an elite sport. Racing’s participants and owners have acted with great responsibility and professionalism since the sport resumed on June 1. Strict controls have been in place and there is no evidence that the virus has been transmitted at a meeting behind closed doors.

“Owners and participants attending meetings during the national lockdown will be expected to adhere to Government’s travel guidance, and should travel directly to and from the venue without stopping where possible, and avoid car sharing with anyone outside their own household or support bubble.

“Continued observance of these measures is vital to ensure that the sport continues behind closed doors.”

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