By Andrew Atkinson
Irish race meetings this weekend at Fairyhouse and Tramore on Saturday and Naas on Sunday are ticket-only.
Tramore stages its biggest meeting of 2021 with dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo vying to land the Savills Chase for a fourth consecutive year.
Tramore manager Owen Byrne said: “We are keen to keep it well below 5,000 spectators and really looking forward to it.
“It’s a very stressful time – with everything that’s going on at the moment. We’ll have a lot of outdoor facilities and are keen to ensure a comfortable, safe and enjoyable environment.”
Fairyhouse’s New Year’s Day ticket only meeting decision was made with (covid) contact tracing in mind.
“Going ticket only gives us a handle on the numbers. It allows us to have contact tracing for everyone who comes,” said manager Peter Roe.
“We will keep a close eye on the numbers to ensure we comply with all government guidelines.
“We’ll have loads of outdoor facilities and catering on the day. Our hospitality is booked out but we have plenty of general admission tickets available online.”
Eamonn McEvoy, manager at Naas, said of the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle being an all-ticket meeting: “We’ve decided to go ticket only. Sales have been okay, although not as strong as other years with what’s going on.
“It’s very difficult to try and organise something in the current climate.
“We had planned on having a magician for the kids in the creche but we have cancelled that.
“We would encourage those with symptoms of Covid-19 to stay at home.”
Caption: Tramore manager Owen Byrne: A very stressful time with everything that’s going on.