GOOD NEWS was announced today from racing’s authorities regarding the easing of racecourse restrictions for Owners and the welcoming back of spectators, all to start a week today on Monday 17 May.
As the Government announced that the country was moving from Stage 4 to Stage 3 alert level and indoor hospitality could begin, so racing followed suit, with some very welcome announcements about the easing of lockdown restrictions. So, how will things change from next Monday on the racecourse?
For owners, at last, they will be allowed back into the paddock for the first time since racing stopped in March of last year. Admittedly, owners will be limited in numbers and they will have to wear masks and be socially distanced but this is a major step forward.
Owners will no longer have to wear masks in the rest of the racecourse when outside but they will have to wear them inside, in accordance with government guidelines.
While improving the ownership experience is vital, it is also very welcome that spectators can return, not only to help racecourses who have seen their income severely reduced but also to create atmosphere on the course. Indeed the latter also adds to the ownership experience.
Most racecourses will be allowed to entertain 4,000 spectators or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is lower. However, larger venues such as Ascot, will be looking to get 10,000 spectators on course and indeed that is the aim for the Royal Meeting in June.
Solario Racing is delighted that the new measures kick in next Monday as the plan is to send Dancinginthewoods back up the M1 to Leicester, scene of his 6f handicap success under Hollie Doyle 16 days ago.
As for whether Owners can go into the Winner’s Enclosure, my sources tell me that the winning presentations are due to take place in the paddock. But let’s not tempt fate!