Fans given green light to attend Doncaster racecourse for first time since sporting lockdown
- 25,000 people will attend four-day St Leger meeting at Doncaster next month
- Event has been selected as a pilot for the return of spectators to sports venues
- Day one attendance is expected to be 4,000 and will rise to 9,000 by Saturday
Doncaster will host the first paying racegoers since racing went into lockdown in March after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport gave the green light to the four-day St Leger meeting next month to be a pilot event for a return of spectators to sports grounds.
Including participants, officials, staff and media, Doncaster are hoping to welcome 25,000 people to the four-day meeting which begins on September 9.
Day one attendance is expected to be just over 4,000 with the attendance rising to 9,000 by the Saturday when the Pertemps St Leger, the season’s final Classic, will be run.
25,000 people will attend four-day St Leger meeting at Doncasteron September 9
The DCMS has also approved pilot events at Warwick on September 21 and Newmarket’s three-day meeting which starts on September 24 and includes the Cambridgeshire Handicap, Cheveley Park and Middle Park Stakes.
Mark Spincer, managing director of the racing division of the Doncaster’s operators Arena Racecourse Company, said tickets would go on sale once those who had booked pre-Covid-19 confirmed their attendance.
Up to 5,000 tickets for Leger day could be available, all of which must be sold in advance with the purchaser supplying details of their party. Capacity in restaurants and hospitality will be around 800 a day.
Spincer said: ‘ARC has worked closely with large and small independent racecourses as well as the Jockey Club on plans for the return of racegoers because we need crowds back for the industry not just individual racecourses.’
Doncaster will be divided into mini-enclosures housing around 250 racegoers, who will also be given arrival windows and exit routines to prevent congestion outside the track. Spincer added: ‘We want to make sure to get all the track-and-trace protocols right and learn as much as we can.’
A Jockey Club spokesman said Warwick would welcome 1,250 spectators while numbers for the Newmarket meeting are still to be agreed.
The meteoric rise of Cieren Fallon Jnr has continued with his appointment as second jockey to Sheik Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing operation.
Six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon’s son, who will understudy champion jockey Oisin Murphy, had his first mount in his new role when Code of Silence was unplaced at Lingfield yesterday.
Fallon Jnr, 22, who is set to retain the champion apprentice title, will get the chance to excel with Murphy banned for the St Leger meeting, when his Qatar Racing mounts are set to include The Lir Jet in the Flying Childers Stakes.