Owners are to be allowed to attend meetings in increased numbers and for longer from next week as the British Horseracing Authority tries to gradually restore “a more traditional raceday experience”.
The BHA issued a statement in which it thanks owners for “constructive feedback” about their limited return so far, following lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, and announces an increase to the two permitted to do so.
There will also be a “removal of restrictions around arrival and departure times”, which have been in place since July 4 – the date from which owners were allowed back on course, after their initial exclusion when the fixture list resumed behind closed doors last month.
The easing of restrictions – which will come into effect from next Tuesday, July 28 – will also mean racecourses can extend their hospitality service to owners, from the current essential food and drink, to the service permitted by Government guidelines in restaurants, pubs and bars elsewhere.
There will be no change to current owner attendance arrangements in Wales, however, because Government guidelines there allow for a maximum of 30 in total at any one time.
The BHA will increase badge allocation for owners from next week, but said in its statement: “Exact numbers will be determined by each racecourse according to their capacity, limits set by the UK Government and in line with Government and local guidance on gatherings.”
It added: “The actions outlined above are all aimed at improving the owner experience in the short term, with a view to gradually easing restrictions and moving towards a more traditional raceday experience when Government restrictions allow.
“At this stage, racing – as an elite sport – must follow strict government guidance in relation to sports events behind closed doors, including tight restrictions on access to the racecourse, health screening prior to entry and social distancing on raceday.”