Racing punters allowed back on English racecourses from Monday

Punters will be allowed back on English racecourses from next Monday after the UK Government confirmed its three step roadmap is on track.

Crowds of up to a maximum of 4,000 or 50% capacity will be allowed back on course following approval from The British Horseracing Authority.

The first meetings able to race in front of a crowd will be Redcar and Carlisle on Monday afternoon - before Leicester and Windsor race in the evening.

Ffos Las race on Monday too, but the Welsh Government has still to announce a change to protocols - so for the time being, meetings will continue behind closed doors there.

The partial lifting of coronavirus restrictions means the Cazoo Derby meeting will be run in front of paying customers next month, and Royal Ascot will also have a crowd - although because stage four does not begin until June 21, it remains unclear whether that showpiece meeting will be able to host 10,000.

Since lockdowns began last March, spectators on racecourses have been restricted to pilot events at Doncaster and Warwick in September and limited crowds at a handful of meetings in December.

In a joint-statement issued by the BHA, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen's Group, it was also confirmed that owners will also be allowed to see their horses and meet with their trainers and jockeys in the parade ring from next week.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said: "It is extremely exciting that we are finally able to welcome racegoers back to our racecourses.

"It will allow racing's many fans to come back to the sport they love after more than a year away. We know there is a huge public demand for families and friends to meet up, outdoors, enjoy great food and drink and the unique social occasion of a race meeting.

"In addition, from next week, racing can once again offer our owners the opportunity to feel much closer to the action on a racecourse by returning to the parade ring. Racing's leaders very much appreciate the commitment and patience shown by owners over the past year when their attendance and experience at racecourses has been restricted by the pandemic."