Spectators set to return to Newmarket's Rowley Mile racecourse for Cambridgeshire Meeting as part of pilot scheme
Racing received a boost on Tuesday after next week’s three-day spectator pilot at Newmarket ’s Rowley Mile racecourse was given the green light.
The racecourse’s safety advisory group successfully convinced local authorities that appropriate measures were in place for the 1,000 racegoers-a-day experiment to go ahead over the prestigious Cambridgeshire Meeting, which is due to get under way on Thursday.
After the test event at Goodwood was called off at the 11th hour and crowds at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting were scrapped after just one day of a three-day meeting, Newmarket officials were fearful their pilot event might also be lost.
But behind-the-scenes talks have eased concerns and the racecourse can now plan for the event to take place with stringent health and safety measures at the venue.
The pilot is part of a series of trials across a range of different sports that have been approved by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Amy Starkey, who runs Newmarket Racecourses as east regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said:“We’re pleased to be working closely with local authorities to stage a limited spectator trial at the Rowley Mile over the course of the Cambridgeshire Meeting. The racecourse is a vast, predominantly outdoor environment that could safely space out several thousand people, not just the maximum 1,000 who will be in attendance with stringent health and safety measures in place.
“The Newmarket trial will provide important insights we can share across our industry and with other sports, so that when it is possible to welcome some level of spectators back to events more regularly in the future we are well equipped to do so.”
Newmarket has already refunded ticket holders who were due to be the course’s first paying spectators of the year, with any slots available being offered to the track’s annual members and sponsors.