Measures put in place as racing gets back in the saddle at Newmarket
With racing set to return to Newmarket’s Rowley Mile on Thursday, Newmarket Racecourses and Jockey Club Estates are keen to ensure town residents are aware of measures in place that will affect those who use the Heath and training grounds for their own exercise.
To meet the criteria agreed with government for racing behind closed doors, and in the interests of safety, on Newmarket race days the public will be asked not to use Jockey Club-owned land to the west of the Hamilton Road although the designated public footpath on the Devil’s Dyke will remain open for use.
“Having racing back on at Newmarket is vital not only for the wider sport but also for the local economy and the thousands of people in the region whose livelihoods depend on the racing and breeding industry,” said Amy Starkey, who runs Newmarket’s two racecourses.
“Integral to staging racing safely is ensuring that only accredited individuals are on or close to the site on a race day. Consequently, the Jockey Club-owned land that is usually open to the public adjacent to the Rowley Mile will be patrolled and these measures need to be enforced because if we do not abide by them then we risk jeopardising our licence to race.
“We start with four fantastic days of racing on the Rowley Mile in terms of the quality of horse that will be involved, and from that perspective it is very exciting. Delivering the racing while adhering to the agreed measures will represent a challenge but one that we are absolutely prepared for.”
Nick Patton, managing director of Jockey Club Estates, said: “We appreciate how valuable an asset having the Heath available for afternoon exercise has been for many Newmarket residents, especially since government restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic were put in place.
“For members of the public who use what is called Racecourse Side, offHamilton Road, we ask that they refrain from exercising there on the upcoming race days and suggest maybe using other areas of the estate, which remain open to the public from 1pm, on the east side of town, such as Warren Hill, Side Hill or Waterhall.
“We want to forewarn people of these measures in advance, so it is neither a surprise nor an inconvenience to them next week and for the race days that will follow while the current level of restrictions remain in place.
“We are already grateful to Newmarket residents for their patience and understanding that, for the sake of the horses’ welfare, the town’s racehorse population needed to continue to be exercised during lockdown. And now we ask again for their co-operation so that racing can safely return to Newmarket, which in turn will bring significant benefits to the local economy.”
As things stand, the first Group 1 race of the season will be the Coronation Cup on Friday June 5.