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Where can I go racing in Britain this week and how can I buy tickets?

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The easing of lockdown restrictions in England and Scotland means from Monday spectators will be allowed back on racecourses in limited numbers for the first time in five months.

Courses in England can accommodate up to 4,000 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is smaller, so numbers will vary from course to course, while bigger venues may be allowed up to 10,000.

Royal Ascot officials on Wednesday confirmed that a crowd of 12,000 will be able to attend each day after it was selected as one of the government's pilot events for June, having previously preparing for a crowd of 4,000.

Racegoers who rolled over tickets from 2020 will now be able to attend the royal meeting, while an allocation of general admission tickets and royal enclosure badges will go on sale on Friday May 28.

In Scotland tracks can host a maximum of 500 seated – or 250 standing – spectators, although racecourses can negotiate with local authorities for potentially larger crowds. Musselburgh will be the first course to host paying spectators on May 25 with Ayr remaining behind closed doors this week.

Here is everything you need to know.

Where are the first meetings?

Carlisle and Redcar were the first tracks back in action last Monday afternoon with Windsor and Leicester hosting evening meetings. On Tuesday, Brighton, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Hexham and Huntingdon were all in action.

On Friday, June 4, Epsom hosts the first of its two Classics, the Cazoo Oaks, with the Cazoo Derby 24 hours later. Tickets are already sold out for both days after a ballot.

Will I be able to buy tickets on the day?

No, you cannot just rock up. Tickets must be purchased in advance. This is to comply with government guidance and test and trace regulations. 

The best way to purchase tickets is to visit the relevant racecourse website to check for prices and availability, or to ring up the track you would like to attend.

What are the guidelines?

As a rule, racecourses will not be checking temperatures of spectators on arrival. Face coverings will be needed in the parade ring and indoors, but will no longer be mandatory in other outdoor areas on course.

Can I buy tickets for Royal Ascot and other big race meetings this summer?

Will on-course bookmakers be back on tracks?

Yes, courses will be allowed to host bookmakers as well as offering Tote betting. The number of pitches will vary according to each track's capacity, but cash will be accepted.

Will anything change?

For those who have been able to attend while racing has remained behind closed doors, namely racing professionals and owners, there will be one major change as owners will once again be allowed into the paddock.

Where the grass is greener: owners can now enter the paddock

Can I buy food and drink?

Food and drink will be available from facilities in the racecourses and tables and chairs provided. Customers must be seated when drinking alcohol. Some tracks will only be accepting card payments so make sure to check in advance.

When will restrictions ease further?

That depends on the individual governments, but in England the provisional date for most remaining social restrictions to be lifted is June 21, hopefully meaning the return of big crowds as a joint statement from racing's major stakeholders last week said they will press for a return to full attendance at the next stage of the government's roadmap.

However, UK prime minister Boris Johnson warned last Friday that the new Indian variant of Covid-19 could pose "serious disruption" towards moving to that step.

How about Wales and Ireland?

The Welsh government last week gave Swansea City and Newport County the green light to host fans for this month's EFL play-off games. It would be the first time in 14 months fans have been alllowed into Welsh stadiums.

The fixtures are among a number of test events announced by first minister Mark Drakeford last month. Also among the confirmed list of pilots events are Glamorgan's four-day county championship cricket match with Lancashire and the Wales v Albania football international, although no racing fixtures are thought to have been identified.

Northern Ireland's two tracks are part of the all-Ireland governance of racing and thus remain behind closed doors for now. Taoiseach Micheal Martin has suggested crowds will be trialled at a number of sporting events this summer, and Galway has put itself forward to be part of that pilot at its seven-day festival beginning on July 26.

Where can I go racing?

Thursday, May 27

First race: 1.00
Tickets: £18 general admission. Access to the centre of the course but no paddock viewing.

First race: 1.55
Tickets: £15 adult general admission to Paddock enclosure, concessions tickets available for £11.

First race: 2.15
Tickets: £17.50 general admission. Grandstand and paddock ticket.

First race: 5.30
Tickets: £15 general admission.

First race: 5.45
Tickets: £20 general admission, but selling fast.

Friday, May 28

First race: 1.00
Tickets: £15 general admission.

First race: 2.00
Tickets: £15 general admission. Outdoor ticket.

First race: 2.20
Tickets: £14 general admission. 

First race: 5.10
Tickets: Paddock and Centre course tickets available from £15.

First race: 5.35
Tickets: £17.50 general admission. Grandstand and paddock ticket.

Sold out.

Saturday, May 29

First race: 1.05
Tickets: Sold out with the exception of some camping tickets, which include course admission. Prices range from £110 per person.

First race: 1.15
Tickets: £20 general admission. Grandstand and paddock ticket.

First race: 1.30
Tickets: £7 general admission to Course enclosure. Grandstand and Paddock enclosure is sold out.

First race: 2.05
Tickets: £60 general admission. Access will include access to the County Lawn, Tattersalls, Dee Stand and Parade Ring. The Open Course is currently closed.

First race: 2.30
Tickets: £15 general admission. Grandstand and paddock enclosure. 

Ffos Las
Racing behind closed doors.

Sold out.

Sunday, May 30

First race: 1.50
Tickets: £17 general admission. The Premier Lounge Restaurant is sold out.

Members only.

Sold out.

Read more on the return of spectators:

'We've really missed the buzz' – courses ready for return of racegoers on Monday

Spectators are here again and racing must hope there will be no turning back (Members' Club)

Tracks thrilled to have crowds back but cost of Covid could linger for 18 months (Members' Club)

'The feeling you get is unlike anywhere' – what you're saying about going racing

Seven racecourses in England you must visit now you can go racing

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The best way to purchase tickets is to visit the relevant racecourse website
E.W. Terms