Royal Ascot to be held 'behind closed doors'

The Royal meeting is under serious doubt due to the ongoing public health crisis.
The Royal meeting is under serious doubt due to the ongoing public health crisis.

Ascot Racecourse has announced that this year’s Royal meeting will be held ‘behind closed doors’ should it be able to take place, as racing continues to respond to the ongoing public health crisis surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The five-day meeting traditionally takes place in the middle of June - and is scheduled this year for the 16th June - 20th June - meaning that it would have been near-impossible for the event to have been held in normal circumstances. 

Instead, with the British Horseracing Authority still aiming for a return to racing in May, Ascot will aim to stage the meeting behind closed doors, meaning that the public will be unable to attend. The logistics behind such a move are not known at this time, and it is unclear whether the likes of owners and trainers, the media or indeed royalty will be allowed to attend. 

Royal Ascot regularly features foreign raiders, too, from the likes of Ireland, the United States, Australia and France, and it seems unlikely at this stage that they will be permitted to take part.

In a press release to the media, a spokesperson for the racecourse commented: “For public health and safety reasons we have reached the difficult but unavoidable conclusion that Royal Ascot 2020 (16th - 20th June) will not be able to take place as an event open to the public. This will of course be a great disappointment for everyone planning to attend.

“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. This would be for the benefit of the industry, our valued partners and suppliers and our television audiences at home and internationally. Planning for this is now our complete focus and we will update on progress as and when we can.”

The announcement confirmed that the conditions will apply to Ascot’s May Meeting should it be able to take place, with that event  scheduled for the 8th and 9th of May.

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