Crowds to return to Newmarket next month as racecourse picked to host pilot event

Racing has been held behind closed doors at Newmarket since June. Credit: PA

Racing fans will be allowed to return to Newmarket next month after the Suffolk racecourse was chosen to host one the government's crowd pilot events.

Spectators will be able to watch all three days of the Cambridgeshire Meeting from September 24-26.

In total, eight meetings have been selected - starting with The St Leger meeting at Doncaster on September 9.

If the events go well, it could pave the way for fans to to return to stadiums in other sports like football from October.

Like many sports, horse racing has been staged behind closed doors since it was given the green light to resume in June.

A recent test event at the Glorious Goodwood festival had to be scrapped following a rise in coronavirus cases.

As part of the application, Newmarket had to submit a detailed risk assessment and operating plan to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Fans will be allowed to return to Newmarket in September. Credit: PA

"We are pleased to receive confirmation of our pilot events to welcome back crowds to racecourses and once again thank DCMS for entrusting the sport with this responsibility," David Armstrong, Chief Executive of The Racecourse Association said.

“The disappointment of postponing our last confirmed pilot at Goodwood was felt across the sport, but the learnings and behind-the-scenes work have been of great value to others. Racing is ready to proceed in a safe manner and we are looking forward to once again welcoming crowds back to the racecourse."

A spokesperson for Jockey Club Racecourses added: “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.”

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