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Laytown cancels popular September fixture with concerns over social distancing

Laytown: popular once-a-year track will not stage racing in 2020
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Laytown's annual fixture on the beach has been cancelled this year amid concerns over implementing social distancing.

With less than seven weeks to go until the once-a-year fixture on September 1, officials took the decision to cancel the popular event after discussions which included the local police.

The unique fixture attracted 6,204 people last year, a significant portion of which were overseas attendees, who would have to serve a 14-day quarantine period prior to attending the fixture under current Irish travel regulations relating to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Due to its nature, trying to stage the meeting as a private event behind closed doors would raise its own difficulties and the fixture has been cancelled. 

Laytown races chairman Joe Collins: "We are already looking forward to welcoming everyone back to our 2021 race fixture"
Laytown races chairman Joe Collins said: "Laytown races is in a unique position as we race under temporary facilities and our racetrack on the beach is a fantastic amenity, open to the public.

"As the health and safety of Laytown and Bettystown residents, sponsors, racegoers, jockeys, trainers, stable staff and racecourse staff is our number one priority, the committee had too many concerns about how we could implement social distancing during racing, especially on the beach and in the village."

He added: "After consultation with all the key stakeholders including the Gardai, Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Body, the committee reached the very difficult decision to cancel our 2020 race meeting but we are already looking forward to welcoming everyone back to our 2021 race fixture."

The last occasion when the popular meeting did not take place was in 2002, when the stewards heard evidence from senior riders regarding a number of dangerous ridges, deciding the fixture could not go ahead in the interest of safety.

Racing first took place at Laytown in 1868.

Laytown: first staged racing in 1868
The Laytown races committee have reassured all customers who have already paid for admission tickets and corporate hospitality that they will receive a full refund.

The refund process will start immediately, although the committee would appreciate customers' patience during the refund process with the sales team currently working remotely due to the current government restrictions.


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The committee had too many concerns about how we could implement social distancing during racing, especially on the beach and in the village

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