York has cancelled next month’s Dante Festival in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.
The fixture, which was due to run from May 13 to 15, features Derby and Oaks trials in the Dante and Musidora Stakes, as well as the Yorkshire Cup.
However, with the British Horseracing Authority on Wednesday announcing an indefinite extension to the suspension of the sport, and also taking the decision that no crowds will be possible on racecourses until June, York has decided to cancel next month’s showpiece meeting, with another raceday also called off on May 30.
A statement from the track read: “As the Covid-19 crisis has come to affect so many individuals and organisations, it will not be a surprise that racing, as both a sport and an important employer, has too suffered unprecedented consequences.
“Most recently, in following Government advice, the British Horseracing Authority extended the suspension of horse racing nationwide, in front of a crowd, until Sunday, May 31.
“Consequently, this means the cancellation of the four racedays scheduled for York Racecourse in May 2020, specifically the Dante Festival and Saturday, May 30.
“Whilst this is a disappointing decision for racegoers, racing professionals, all of us at York Racecourse and many in the wider city, we all appreciate that public health must be everyone’s priority.”
While underlining that customers who booked direct with the track are entitled to a full refund, York has asked racegoers to consider transferring their tickets to next year’s meeting.
The statement added: “The revenue from gate receipts is vital to the ongoing well-being of York Racecourse; it helps fund the prize money which regularly attracts the star horses and jockeys and is the life blood of racing stables, it contributes towards the facilities for all to enjoy and keeps together the team that work to deliver the racedays.
“So, we are requesting that our racegoers simply allow us to transfer their existing bookings to May 2021. This would mean a price freeze on what we hope is a regular event and that no further action is required by the customer.”