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Welcome to Glorious Goodwood! The racing jamboree will be a blueprint for the return of crowds

Glorious Goodwood starts on Tuesday afternoon but the five-day fixture will be more than the annual midsummer racing jamboree on one of the most picturesque stages in British racing.

Following the first crowd at a sporting event – when 1,000 spectators attended a cricket friendly between Surrey and Middlesex at the Oval on Sunday – there will be 5,000 spectators at Goodwood on Saturday. The pilot event will be the potential blueprint for the return of crowds to racing under Covid-19 protocols.

Goodwood managing director Adam Waterworth said: ‘Going racing is going to be more complicated than it used to be but so is going shopping. It will not be a normal racegoer experience, but it will be the experience if we are given the chance to let crowds in again in the immediate future under the guidelines.’

The 5,000 spectators will be made up of the Goodwood’s 4,000 annual members who have accepted the invitation and their guests. Normally, the final day of the meeting attracts more than 25,000 and is the best-attended day of Goodwood’s season.

The track will be divided into three larger zones with no movement between them. The ‘Green Zone’ around the paddock and Weighing Room is accessed by jockeys, trainers and their staff, officials and media. There is a separate ‘Owners’ Zone’ with a capacity for up to 400.

Spectators will be in the ‘Public Zone’ but, within that, there will be eight smaller enclosures. Capacity within these will vary but spectators will have to stick to their zones, all of which will have separate entrances and exits.

These enclosures include one near the finish line and one near the parade ring where watching the races will be via a big screen.

The less mobile experience is designed to manage pinch points and areas where spectators would normally congregate. If a spectator tests positive for Covid-19, test and trace can be limited to the people within the mini enclosure rather than the entire crowd.

The Lennox Enclosure has been designated a picnic area where spectators can bring their own food and drink but all other sections will have food and drink outlets.

There will also be some limited hospitality in suites and boxes but with hugely reduced capacity. A box for 20 people will be allowed to take six.

There will be, from other sports and DCMS to see what has and hasn’t worked, with a feedback process to follow to refine the guidelines if needed.

No. The track management has said they will lose money with no-one being charged for entry.

Saturday will also be a pilot for betting with all transactions having to be cashless. The Tote will be open in all enclosures and, in some of the mini enclosures, there will be four on-course bookmakers for the first time since racing shut down in March. 

Technology will be trialled and refined to take and pay out bets via debit cards.

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