'I can't see it much before September' - racecourse warning over attendances
St Leger date for punters as racing finally begins again at Newcastle
As British racing resumed on Monday behind closed doors at Newcastle, the sport was warned those doors are unlikely to open much for a considerable time.
Mark Spincer, managing director of track owner Arena Racing Company's racing division, hopes some people may be allowed in for the group's flagship St Leger meeting at Doncaster in September.
"It all depends on the government but I'd love to think that for the last Classic of the year we may be able to have a number of people on site," he said. "I don't know what that number will be. Could it be 500 owners and trainers? Could it be some annual members? Could it be some paid admission? I have no idea."
But Spincer, who was once executive director at Doncaster, said: "I can't see it much before September, it's a behind-closed-doors fixture list in June, July and August and I'd be quite surprised if that gets changed. But if the government start to open up in July, who knows? Whoever thought bookmakers would be open in the middle of June? We definitely didn't, that wasn't in our thinking.
"But I don't think admissions will get anywhere like back to normal for a number of months."
Spincer pointed to the financial impact of spectators being barred during racing's busiest period.
"You talk about media and bookmakers but in the height of the summer hospitality, paid admissions, food and beverage revenue and the rest is a large driver of the lifeline of all racecourses, he said.
"Be it Beverley's ladies' day, the Ebor Festival or Pontefract's Red Shirt night, it hits so many people.
"Then think of the charity partners we work with, the local hotels, pubs and restaurants. Everybody is feeling it."
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