Spectators no longer permitted to attend Doncaster’s St Leger Festival

The final three days of Doncaster Racecourse’s St Leger Festival will take place behind closed doors.

Despite opening its gates to socially distanced crowds on September 9, Doncaster Council’s director of public health, Dr Rupert Suckling, instructed the venue to hold the remaining festival without spectators, on the grounds of “public health and public safety”.

Mark Spincer, managing director of Arena Racing Company’s racing division, said: “We have had confirmation this afternoon (September 9) from the local authority that we will not be able to admit a crowd to the final three days of the St Leger Festival (September 10-12).  The race meeting will continue on a behind closed doors basis, as per all other race meetings currently taking place in Britain.

“This pilot event represents a hugely important step not just for our business but for the whole of British racing as well as the sports and hospitality industries as a whole. We do, of course, fully understand and respect the decision and will be contacting all of our customers booked for the remaining three days as a matter of urgency.

“We were pleased to work closely with Doncaster Council to set up this pilot event in the manner that we had but matters beyond anyone’s control, and the data that regarding local rates that have come to light today, mean we will not be able to welcome a crowd from Thursday (September 10) onwards.

“We would, of course, like to thank all of our customers for their support in the run up to this event as well as our staff who have done a monumental job in preparing the site.”

Damian Allen, chief executive at Doncaster Council, explained: “I would like to place on record my thanks to the management team at Doncaster Racecourse for their meticulous planning for the festival.

“They have been working positively with us and have put in significant amount of hours and hard work to prepare for and manage the event. The latest development of how the festival is to be held is based on public health and public safety advice and that has to be heeded.

“The St Leger does have a special significance for Doncaster and I do hope the festival is enjoyed remotely this year and indeed with the anticipated return of spectators for the entire festival in 2021.”