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York follows Epsom lead in fencing off racecourse to keep public away

York is following the lead of Epsom in fencing off the course for Thursday's meeting, while asking racing fans to stay at home and watch the action on ITV4 or Racing TV instead.

The racecourse, mindful that its home on the Knavesmire is a public park, has erected fencing around the infield to allow public access during the meeting but obscuring areas such as the finish around the winning post, the paddock and winner's enclosure.

The meeting features the rescheduled Dante and Musidora Stakes, normally Classic trials, and William Derby, York's chief executive, said: "We have retained access to the middle of the Knavesmire but have put up three miles of fences to keep people well back from the course, well inside the service road for the medical services and TV camera vehicle.

"We are a reasonably busy city-centre racecourse and the Knavesmire is a busy park on normal days and was very busy during lockdown in the glorious weather during May.

"Working with the police, we wanted people who enjoy the Knavesmire 365 days a year to be able to do so."   

The racecourse has worked closely with its local authority, the City of York council and North Yorkshire police to meet all the protocols for elite sport to take place.

Derby praised the BHA and the work of director of racing Ruth Quinn and Racing TV's Lydia Hislop in devising "the rescue package" that has saved the traditional Classic trials that are the Dante and Musidora from the lost May meeting.

He said: "It took a little bit of getting your head around running the races after the Derby and Oaks but it has proved the right decision despite the unusual timing with two mouthwatering contests," said Derby.

York missed the rain that hit the south on Wednesday morning but is forecast for rain overnight which is due to clear through the morning.

Derby said: "We are good, good to firm in places with a dry afternoon. We had a reasonably mild and moist June and have had really strong grass growth so haven't irrigated since the resumption of racing." 

York will also welcome owners under the new relaxation of the rules and while they will still not have access to the paddock and winner's enclosure, owners have their club room, lawn and a debrief area to talk to their trainers and jockeys.

Derby said: "We will have a wood-fired pizza unit and coffee stall doing takeaways for the owners."

The going at Newmarket, which begins its three-day July festival on Thursday, was changed to good (from good, good to firm in places) on Wednesday after showers.  

Around 3-4mm was forecast for Wednesday evening, with a further 3-4mm on Thursday.

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