Racing WON’T host fans test event next month with no meetings fitting in with Government’s schedule for easing of lockdown as Grand National at Aintree next week is deemed TOO EARLY
- Racing will not get chance to stage a test event with spectators next month
- There is no meeting is scheduled which fits Governments lockdown easing plan
- Grand National next week was deemed too early and Boodles Festival too late
Racing will not stage a test event with spectators next month as there are no suitable meetings scheduled that fit the government’s criteria and timetable.
The Racecourse Association have held lengthy talks with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport over the last few weeks, but Sportsmail has learned that several local authorities did not give permission for any pilot events to proceed.
The Racecourse Association have held lengthy talks with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport over the last few weeks, but have been unable to reach an agreement given the tight timetable for the easing of England’s lockdown and racing’s set-in-stone fixture list.
Racing will not get the opportunity to host test events with supporters next month
The government’s tight timetable for lockdown easing and racing’s fixed fixture list limited the room for manoeuvre despite a desire in racing to get punters back at tracks as soon as possible.
The Grand National meeting at Aintree next week had been proposed, but the government has judged it to be too early as it takes place before the next nationwide easing on 12 April, while the Boodles May Festival at Chester next month is too late.
The government wants the initial round of test events to be completed at least a fortnight before step three of their roadmap on 17 May, when it is hoped that crowds of 4000 and 10,000 will be permitted at outdoor venues and large stadia respectively.
Racing is therefore set to miss out on staging test events, but officials are lobbying Government for courses to be designated as stadiums rather than outdoor venues.
Such a move would be a major boost for the sport because it would enable 10,000 spectators to attend each day of the Derby meeting at Epsom on June 4-5.
The Grand National next week was deemed to early for Government’s end of lockdown plan
Racecourse Association have held lengthy talks with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and secretary Oliver Dowden (pictured), over the last few weeks
There were three pilot events staged successfully at racecourses last autumn, while numerous meetings took place with spectators in attendance in December before the third national lockdown, so racing officials are confident they have sufficient Covid-secure protocols in place to begin operating immediately.
The right to stage test events has generated considerable competition between sports, with cricket stakeholders particularly unhappy at missing out, as Sportsmail revealed earlier this month.