Royal Ascot to take place behind closed doors?
  • Meeting cancelled – due to coronavirus
  • Quote: ‘It may prove possible to run the Royal Ascot races behind closed doors’.

By Andrew Atkinson Breaking news

Royal Ascot 2020 could still take place – behind closed doors – after it was announced on April 7 that the meeting has been cancelled, due to the coronavirus lockdown.

“For public health and safety reasons we have reached the difficult but unavoidable conclusion that Royal Ascot 2020 will not be able to take place as an event open to the public,” said Guy Henderson, Chief Executive of Ascot.

“This will of course be a great disappointment for everyone planning to attend,” he added.

However, under government regulations Mr Henderson revealed: “It may prove possible to run the Royal Ascot races behind closed doors, dependent on Government and public health policy and the approval of the BHA for us to re-start racing.”

Royal Ascot’s five-day meeting, attended by Her Majesty The Queen, is scheduled to start on June 16. 300,000 spectators attend annually.

“Customers who have already paid for entry and hospitality at Royal Ascot will be refunded in full in the usual way as quickly as possible.

“We will start the process of communicating with them, initially by email, immediately. We thank everyone in advance for their patience and understanding in completing this substantial task given the challenging practical circumstances of the current national lockdown.

“The pandemic will have a significant financial impact on our business in 2020, along with so many others.

“Nevertheless, Ascot racecourse will come through this crisis and we look forward to being able to welcome racegoers back when it is safe to do so.

“Meanwhile, our thoughts are with all those grieving and suffering as a result of COVID-19. We offer heartfelt thanks to our wonderful NHS staff, key workers and volunteers for all their selfless dedication,” said Mr Henderson.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced on March 17 racing was to be suspended until the end of April, at present, due to the coronavirus situation.

*The Jockey Club are holding meetings to re-schedule the first four Classics of the 2020 Flat race meetings in the midst of COVID-19.

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