By Andrew Atkinson
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has affected the owners experience, particularly in Wales, that lead to Chepstow racecourse making a statement ahead of the opening of their jumps season that got underway in October.
Chepstow will be staging a behind closed doors meeting on October 27, with meetings in November and December, including the Coral Welsh Grand National on December 27.
Welsh Government regulations allow gatherings of up to 30 people for the same purpose, but it has to be outside.
Chepstow are therefore having to limit the number of owners who can attend to two people. Owners should arrive 30 minutes before their horse is scheduled to run and leave no more than 30 minutes after the race. This minimises the risk of the racecourse reaching the 30 person limit.
Chepstow are in regular contact with the Welsh Government, along with the BHA, and will continue to make the case to allow more owners to attend fixtures in Wales.
Owners who live in a local lockdown area in Wales are not allowed to attend and owners living in a local lockdown area England need to adhere to the advice given by their local authority.
The racecourse advise that you bring evidence of your home address if you are planning to come to Chepstow. Strict protocols will be in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of all owners.
Face masks are required on arrival only, and all attendees will be required to utilise the NHS Track and Trace QR code at the racecourse entrance. Chepstow ensure indoor toilet facilities are available.
A big screen, a covered outdoor seating area over-looking the course and a position to talk to your trainer before and after the race are in place.
Pre-registration is essential. This process will be administered by the RCA’s Privilege Access Swipe System (PASS) https://www.rcapass.com. Further information will be sent to owners when their horse is declared to run.
“Once local restrictions are loosened, Chepstow look to welcoming more owners on site and improving the on-course experience for all. We are incredibly grateful for your support of Chepstow Racecourse throughout these difficult times,” said a spokesperson.
Racehorse owner John Webb said: “Owners can go racing when they have a runner, but it’s up to the racecourse how many owners per horse they will allow.
“It does seem to vary. Huntingdon was four, Ayr two, Chelmsford three and Ascot six. You can stay throughout the whole meeting.
“Before going you need to do an online module, which is on the ROA website and then at arrival on course you’ll get your temperature checked, along with filling out track and trace details.
“I’ve been lucky with the racing clubs I run as I’ve managed to get a few extra tickets for more owners.”