Royal Ascot to admit 12,000 spectators each day as part of government programme

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Golden Horde wins the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot 2020. (Pic: Courtesy of Ascot).

ROYAL Ascot is permitted to admit 12,000 spectators each day after news of their selection as part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).

The announcement from Ascot Racecourse, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Racecourse Association (RCA) means that the Royal meeting at Ascot, which takes place between June 15 – 19, will welcome the largest number of spectators since racing was first shut down at the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.

A statement from Ascot disclosed that the precise detail of what will be trialled and what the requirements from visitors to the racecourse would be, remained a work in progress and would be revealed on Ascot’s website ( when it becomes available.

Guy Henderson, chief executive at Ascot Racecourse, said: “We are delighted that Royal Ascot has been accepted to play its part in the next phase of the government’s Events Research Programme. We much look forward to welcoming 12,000 racegoers each day. 

“Our thanks go to our industry bodies, the British Horseracing Authority and the Racecourse Association, which led the preparation of the submission to Government.”

Julie Harrington, chief executive of the BHA, also welcomed the news: “It is excellent news that Ascot will be included in the Events Research Programme as a pilot event. It is an opportunity to demonstrate how racing events are perfectly suited to safely hosting spectators in greater numbers as we progress through the government’s roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions.

“We are grateful to DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and this outcome reflects the strong and positive relationship between racing and government. Working with colleagues we will ensure that our participants remain protected to the same degree that has been achieved with racing’s bespoke coronavirus protocols since resumption in June 2020.”

David Armstrong, chief executive of the RCA, added: “I am so pleased that Royal Ascot has been selected as part of the ERP program.

“The RCA and the Industry Return of Spectators Group have worked closely with the ERP (and its predecessor groups) to develop pilot options across racing which demonstrate the safe nature of the racecourse environment and the strength of our operating protocols.

“The Ascot team have done an outstanding job in configuring the course for this pilot and racegoers and participants alike can look forward to an exceptional Royal Ascot experience delivered to the highest standards of safety.”

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