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Haydock’s Sprint Cup suggested as venue for crowd test event

The Group 1 Sprint Cup is held at Haydock Park in early September.
The Group 1 Sprint Cup is held at Haydock Park in early September.

Spectators could be allowed to attend next month’s Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, after The Jockey Club suggested the meeting as a possible candidate for any potential pilot scheme. 

Goodwood was supposed to host 5000 spectators on Stewards’ Cup day last Saturday as part of an initial trial which included several sports, but those plans were put back by the Government due to a resurgence in the national levels of Coronavirus.

It is thought that these plans could restart in September, and Arena Racecourses - in conjunction with both the Jockey Club and the RCA - have already suggested the St Leger meeting at Doncaster (between 9th-12th September) as a possible venue for any initial pilot scheme. 

The JCR has since suggested each of Sandown, Newmarket and Haydock as three courses within its 15-strong portfolio that could fit the bill, with the latter’s Sprint Cup meeting falling on September 5, and they are hopeful that we could see a crowd at a racecourse sooner rather than later.

Dickon White, North West Regional Director for the JCR, told the Racing Post: "From a Jockey Club perspective, we're keen to get crowds back on course as soon as possible, and we'll work together with the rest of the industry. 

"Looking at the dates, the three obvious racecourses within the group to do a test event would be Newmarket, Sandown and Haydock.

"We have the three-day Sprint Cup meeting early in September at Haydock and then we race again for two days at the end of September [25-26]. You'd like to think one of those will be included and we're watching with interest to see what happens.

"A Sprint Cup type of meeting would be very sensible as it's important to have a day within the pilot that has a reasonable amount of people, for example a crowd of 5,000. 

"A Thursday and Friday at Haydock wouldn't give you the full challenge you need, but by Saturday you would have that and you could test different areas across the three days.

"We're in the borough of St Helens in Merseyside but we border Wigan, which is in Greater Manchester, so we're keeping a close eye on it. With the protocols that have been put in place by the BHA, I think we're in a really good place and managing it very well."

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