Coronavirus: Doncaster Races to be held behind closed doors because of COVID-19 pandemic

Horse racing at Doncaster – including the famous Lincoln meeting – is to be held behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 2:45 pm
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 2:46 pm

All horse racing in Britain will be held behind closed doors from tomorrow until at least the end of March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Town Moor is due to host three meetings between now and the end of March – the Don 2020 meeting this Wednesday, the Lincoln meeting on March 28 and the Magical World Of Racing on March 29.

Racing in England had continued despite the outbreak, with the Cheltenham Festival recording an attendance of 251,684 across four days last week.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Racing at Doncaster will take place behind closed doors.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said it plans for scheduled meetings to go ahead, but some may be cancelled.

The Grand National is set to take place at Aintree on 4 April.

"Any fixtures that take place in England, Wales and Scotland, initially until the end of March, will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees," a BHA statement said.

Tuesday's meetings at Taunton and Wetherby will be the first affected by the announcement.

Races in Scotland, including Monday's meeting at Kelso, have already been held behind closed doors because of the Scottish government's guidance against gatherings of more than 500 people.

Nick Rust, chief executive of the BHA, said: "The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services.

"We also have a range of measures in place designed in response to the government's guidance on public health and we will continue to update these as appropriate.

"We acknowledge that today's decision will also impact on local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, who are struggling at this time.

"We are following the government's advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity, and will continue to do so. We thank our customers and staff for their support."

There have been now been nearly 1,400 cases of coronavirus in the UK, with 35 deaths.