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Jockey Club Racecourses welcomes Government’s approval for return behind closed doors

Press Release 30th May 2020

By The Jockey Club

·       British Racing will resume from 1st June without crowds and with extensive health and safety protocols

·       Jockey Club Racecourses will stage its first behind closed doors fixture at Kempton Park on 2nd June

·       First two ‘Classics’ of the season to run at Newmarket on 6th and 7th June, followed by the Investec Derby on 4th July

Leading UK racecourse group, Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR), today welcomed the Government’s approval for horseracing to resume from 1st June, in a carefully controlled environment without crowds and with extensive health and safety protocols in place.

Horseracing is a £4.1 billion industry in Britain and employs tens of thousands of people, many of whom have faced considerable hardship with no fixtures taking place since 17th March this year.

The industry has worked closely with UK and local authorities to ensure it has comprehensive health and safety protocols in place to stage fixtures behind closed doors. These include extensive measures around social distancing, health checks and protective equipment, and operating with the minimum possible number of people on site.

Jockey Club Racecourses is set to stage 61 racing fixtures without spectators from June to August, across six of its racecourses around the country. It would normally stage 85 fixtures in this period, with paying spectators and hospitality.

Kempton Park will restart the racecourse group’s operations with two racedays on 2nd and 3rd June, featuring two Class 1 races – the Classic Trial and Snowdrop. Newmarket kick-starts its 2020 Turf season from 4th to 7th June with its first four-day fixture since 2003, which will feature the Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the Group 1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas and the Group 1 Coronation Cup. Haydock Park will also host three days’ racing from 7th to 9th June, with the first of those featuring the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes and Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes. The Investec Derby and The Investec Oaks are scheduled to be staged at Epsom Downs on Saturday 4th July.

Delia Bushell, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said:

“The lockdown has been an incredibly hard period for our industry and it will be a long road back to recovery. As the first stage of this, I welcome the Government’s approval today for sport to return carefully behind closed doors.

“Across British Racing, a huge amount of planning, effort and care has gone into ensuring we are ready to resume fixtures in the most responsible way. While we are not a human-contact sport, extensive plans are nevertheless in place to create the safest possible environment for participants. And as our horses have been kept exercised for their welfare throughout the suspension period, we’re able to resume quickly.

“Getting back is vital for so many livelihoods in our £4 billion British Racing industry, which plays an important role in the rural economy and in many communities around the UK. This is therefore a very positive moment for the owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and the racecourse teams who have been working hard to be ready to get the sport and industry we love back up and running. And racing fans will have their sport back to provide enjoyment and relief, while the nation embarks on its journey of recovery.”

About The Jockey Club

The Jockey Club stages thrilling sporting occasions. With Her Majesty the Queen as its Patron, The Jockey Club is governed by Royal Charter and reinvests all profits back into British Racing. Founded in 1750, today it is the largest commercial group (2018 turnover: £214.6 million) in Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport, operating 15 racecourses nationwide, The National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live, Jockey Club Services and our charity, Racing Welfare. For more information please visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk.

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