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Racegoers set to be allowed to attend Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket Racecourse as part of pilot scheme




The sight of a crowd cheering home horses at Newmarket is set to return next month after the Cambridgeshire Meeting was included on a further batch of elite sporting events that will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has listed eight racing meetings, starting with Doncaster's Pertemps St Leger Festival, from September 9-12, to trial the return of racegoers to venues.

The Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket's Rowley Mile course is one of those, taking place from September 24-26.

The sight of a crowd roaring on the horses at Newmarket's Rowley Mile is set to return towards the end of next monthPicture Mark Westley
The sight of a crowd roaring on the horses at Newmarket's Rowley Mile is set to return towards the end of next monthPicture Mark Westley

Warwick Racecourse has also been included on September 21.

A limited number of spectators will be welcomed back with the capacity numbers for each of the three days at Newmarket yet to be confirmed.

A statement on Newmarket Racecourses' website read: "We are pleased to announce that The Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket Racecourses has been selected to run as a pilot event to support the safe return of crowds to our racecourses.

People will be able to get dressed up for the Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket next monthPicture: Keith Heppell
People will be able to get dressed up for the Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket next monthPicture: Keith Heppell

"Annual Badge Holders will all be given the opportunity to attend and there will be further general admissions tickets available to purchase.

"Please keep an eye on your inboxes and social channels for updates. If you already have tickets for this event we will be in touch shortly."

Health and safety measures will be in place in accordance with national requirements and British Horseracing Authority protocols, including the ability for racegoers to maintain social distancing and personal hygiene at all times.

A spokesperson for Jockey Club Racecourses said: “We’re really pleased that The Cambridgeshire Meeting has been selected as a pilot event to welcome back a limited capacity of spectators. It’s an important step towards racegoers returning to our events regularly as soon as it’s appropriate to do so, and on this long road to recovery we’re on as an industry.”

Since horse racing resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, Newmarket has been staging meetings behind closed doors across both of its Rowley Mile and July Course venues.

Speedway's British Final at Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich has also been selected by the DCMS as a pilot event on September 26.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: "I know fans and their teams can’t wait to be reunited in stadia across the country but it’s imperative we take a cautious and phased approach to get fans back in safely.

"I’m pleased that infection rates have levelled off enough to resume the pilot programme and we will continue to work intensively with sports, medical and health and safety experts towards welcoming more fans back as fast as we can."

The full list of new pilot test events is:

Football

29 August, Brighton: Brighton & Hove Albion v TBC (men’s pre-season friendly)

30 August, Lewes: Lewes FC v London Bees (women’s pre-season friendly)

12 September, Dagenham: West Ham v Arsenal (women’s Super League fixture)

27 September, Wembley: Non-League Finals day (FA Vase and FA Trophy), teams TBC

Rugby Union

5 September, Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins v Bath (Premiership fixture)

Horse Racing

9 September, Doncaster: St Leger

21 September, Warwick: Warwick

24 September, Cambridgeshire: Newmarket

Cricket

Late August/Early September, venues TBC: Bob Willis Trophy Games (4 Day) / T20 Blast Group Fixtures

Basketball

18 September, Eagles Community Arena, Newcastle: Pre-season BBL exhibition match

Speedway

26 September, Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich: British final

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