With racing due to return to the Rowley Mile track at Newmarket next week racecourse staff are informing residents about measures that will be in place in and around the town, especially those who use the heath and training grounds for exercise.
Newmarket Racecourses and Jockey Club Estates said that in order to stage racing safely and to meet the criteria agreed with government for racing “behind closed doors”, on Newmarket race days the public will be asked not to exercise on the areas of Jockey Club-owned property to the west of the Hamilton Road. The designated public footpath on the Devil’s Dyke will remain open for use.
From Thursday, May 28, signs will be put up informing the public and on race days there will be barriers in place barring entry to vehicles. However, in the evenings, from 7.30pm, an hour after the final race, the public can use the areas in question.
Racing action is due to start on Thursday, June 4, and the four-day meeting features the Group 1 Coronation Cup, moved from Epsom Downs, on Friday, before concluding with the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, on Saturday, and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, on Sunday.
Nick Patton, managing director of Jockey Club Estates, said: “We appreciate how valuable an asset having the heath available for afternoon exercise has been for many Newmarket residents, especially since government restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic were put in place.
“For members of the public who use what is called ‘Racecourse Side’, off the Hamilton Road, we ask that you refrain from exercising there on the upcoming race days and suggest maybe using other areas of the estate, which remain open to the public from 1pm, on the east side of town, such as Warren Hill, Side Hill or Waterhall.
“We want to forewarn people of these measures in advance, so that it is neither a surprise nor an inconvenience to them next week and for the race days that will follow while the current level of restrictions remain in place.”
Amy Starkey, who runs Newmarket Racecourses as East Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “Having racing back on at Newmarket is vital not only for the wider sport but also for the local economy and the thousands of people in the region whose livelihoods depend on the racing and breeding industry.
“We start with four fantastic days of racing on the Rowley Mile in terms of the quality of horse that will be involved, and from that perspective it is very exciting. Delivering the racing while adhering to the agreed measures will represent a challenge but one that we are absolutely prepared for.
“Integral to staging racing safely is ensuring that only accredited individuals are on or close to the site on a race day. Consequently, the Jockey Club-owned land that is usually open to the public adjacent to the Rowley Mile will be patrolled and these measures need to be enforced because if we do not abide by them then we risk jeopardising our licence to race.”
Mr Patton added: “We are already grateful to Newmarket residents for their patience and understanding that, for the sake of the horses’ welfare, the town’s racehorse population needed to continue to be exercised during lockdown. And now we ask again for their co-operation so that racing can safely return to Newmarket, which in turn will bring significant benefits to the local economy.”