Talking Horses: Racing’s slow return to normal under threat of lockdown

Warwick welcomed crowds back but the next big test at Newmarket depends on whether the government announces new restrictions

It felt almost like a normal midweek day at the races here on Monday as Warwick opened its new season in front of around 500 racegoers, perhaps a third of the usual attendance for its first meeting of the autumn. Whether the slow progress towards a widespread return of paying spectators will continue at Newmarket on Thursday remains to be seen, however, with the prime minister expected to announce fresh restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday.

Newmarket plans to admit 1,000 paying spectators – a combination of annual members and hospitality guests – on the three days of its Cambridgeshire meeting. Its plans to keep the crowd safe and socially distanced were approved by local health officials last week, but any new rules announced will need to be studied to ensure compliance.

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