The number and make-up of the spectators able to attend major fixtures at courses such as Aintree, Cheltenham and Sandown, which are open to the public from next week, are set to be finalised in the coming days by Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR).
Sandown’s two-day Betfair Tingle Creek meeting next Friday and Saturday will be the first prominent meeting the public are permitted to attend under the government’s new tiered system, with the racecourse falling under Tier 2 restrictions, enabling up to 2,000 spectators.
Priority for attendance is expected to go to annual members at courses where spectators are allowed, but work is being undertaken to determine how many tickets could potentially be made available to additional racegoers for fixtures in the coming weeks.
The William Hill Becher Chase meeting at Aintree next Saturday, Fitzdares Peterborough Chase day at Huntington on December 6, Cheltenham’s two-day International fixture on December 11-12 and the Ladbrokes King George VI festival at Kempton on December 26-27 will all be taking place at JCR courses.
A JCR spokesman said on Thursday: “Based on the tiers the government has confirmed today, Jockey Club Racecourses has 12 racecourses in Tier 2 and three in Tier 3. Therefore the bulk of our forthcoming meetings will be able to switch from behind closed doors racedays to instead welcome up to 2,000 spectators, made up of racehorse owners and racing fans.
“Our focus now will be on delivering Covid-safe events, as we have done without spectators since the sport’s resumption in June and at the successful spectator pilot we staged at Warwick [in September].”
A message posted on a number of JCR websites, including Aintree, Cheltenham, Kempton and Sandown, said the group was “working hard” to provide the best environment for spectators to return to and that those wishing to attend should “continue to visit our website, check our social media channels and email newsletters for further ticketing and attendance details”.
Most of England has been placed in the two highest levels of restrictions designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus – Tier 2 and Tier 3 – with travel from the most severe area not recommended.
Government guidance states that those who are Tier 3 areas should “avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary”.