PLANS to allow racegoers to attend Goodwood today [Saturday] were scrapped at the 11th hour when the British government announced the cancellation of further pilot events for the return of crowds to sporting venues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Up to 5,000 racegoers were due to go to Goodwood today, which would have been the first time racegoers have been allowed on a British racecourse since March. The fixture was selected as part of a series of pilot events, along with two county cricket matches and world championship snooker at The Crucible in Sheffield.
However, an announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a news conference on Friday lunchtime means racing at Goodwood will again take place behind closed doors today.
Johnson said: “Indoor performances will not resume, pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted.” The situation will be reviewed on August 15th.
A statement was released on behalf of the British Horseracing Authority, Racecourse Association and Goodwood shortly afterwards, which read: “We are clear that the decision to cancel is not a consequence of any concerns about these plans or the measures taken by Goodwood to keep attendees safe but relates to the changing national situation.”
David Armstrong, chief executive of the Racecourse Association, said: “The RCA is very disappointed to learn that the pilot event at Goodwood Racecourse has been postponed. The RCA will continue to work closely with Government to plan future pilot events to welcome back crowds subject to the latest public health advice.”