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Racing gets the green light to allow crowds back on course starting with the St Leger Festival at Doncaster

CROWDS will be allowed back on course at next month’s St Leger Festival.

The Racecourse Association (RCA) have announced that eight race days during September will be used as pilot events.

They include all four days at Doncaster’s big meeting, which starts on September 9, a jumps card at Warwick on September 21 and the three-day Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket at the end of the month.

RCA chief David Armstrong said: “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.

“Racecourses have been working for some time to this end and we are confident the events selected will provide strong case studies which will be of use to all.

“The disappointment of postponing our last confirmed pilot at Goodwood was felt across the sport, but the learning’s 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.”

Tickets for Doncaster will go on sale on Friday, with the track’s owners Arena Racing Company underlining a new code of conduct will be in place for all racegoers.

Doncaster will allow a maximum of 3,640 general admissions on September 9, rising to 6,202 on the final three days of the fixture.

Mark Spincer, managing director of ARC’s racing division, said: “We are delighted that the Government and local authorities have taken the decision to allow us to pilot the return of a crowd at Doncaster Racecourse.

“We were very proud to host the return of racing behind closed doors at Newcastle at the beginning of June and are grateful to the Government for showing confidence in us to host this event.

“As with all sport and other live events, welcoming a crowd is absolutely fundamental to our business as well as being the heart and soul of the spectacle.

“The team at Doncaster have worked incredibly hard on making sure that we have all of the steps in place to welcome a limited number of spectators in a safe and efficient manner and we are really looking forward to welcoming people back on site to enjoy four excellent days of racing.

“The event is, of course, a pilot so the experience may be different than customers may have got used to in previous years.

“But we are putting everything in to making sure that our customers can have an enjoyable afternoon’s racing as well as offering valuable feedback to the process of allowing crowds back to sporting events more generally.”

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