Horse racing events have always been popular in Ireland.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) have announced that Irish racecourses will be permitted to admit up to 50% of outdoor capacity for upcoming meetings following the Government’s latest COVID-19 roadmap.
It follows shortly after the news that Croke Park would allow 40,000 fans inside for the 11 September decider between Tyrone and Mayo at Croke Park, with the stadium's official capacity set at 82,300.
Speaking on the news, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: "It has been a very difficult 18 months for everybody in society, and racing can be proud of the way it has come through it."
"However, without racegoers, racing has been missing one of its essential ingredients."
He added: "Like many industries, there is still much work to do, but there is now real progress and forward steps to normality."
"Welcoming back racegoers in measured but increasing numbers, is one of those steps and from Monday, Irish racecourses will be free to use 50% of their capacity to allow racegoers back on the track in real numbers."
HRI have also said Racecourses can also use 60% of their indoor capacity for hospitality purposes, should attendees be consuming food and beverages indoors, once they provide evidence of their Digital Covid Vaccine Cert (DCC).
Both figures will rise to 100% if, as planned, all restrictions are lifted on October 22.
Upcoming major race meetings, arrangements can be viewed below:
Longines Irish Champions Weekend day one, Leopardstown, Saturday September 11
Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Friday September 3, to members of the public who have registered their interest in advance, with the remainder of tickets going on general sale on Monday.
Leopardstown’s capacity for Saturday week’s meeting is 4,000, and it will be a mixed outdoor event with access to the indoor spaces, with proof of a vaccine being required for those consuming food and beverage indoors.
Tim Husbands, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: "It is great news, and I can’t tell you how happy and relieved the whole Leopardstown team is to be finally selling tickets and getting ready to welcome people back racing."
"We’ve been working hard for quite some time on making the racecourse a safe and pleasurable place for people to enjoy comfortably in these unique times."
“Those who haven’t been to Leopardstown since the Dublin Racing Festival in February 2020, will see a vastly different enclosure, one that we have invested heavily in to improve the customer experience."
"It makes it all the more special that we’re hosting people on one of the best day’s racing in Europe, featuring of course a fascinating Irish Champion Stakes," he concluded.
Longines Irish Champions Weekend day two, The Curragh, Sunday September 12
As for Leopardstown, tickets for the Curragh will go on sale tomorrow, Friday September 3, to members of the public who have registered their interest in advance, with the remainder of tickets going on general sale on Monday.
The Curragh’s capacity for Sunday week’s meeting is also 4,000 and it will be a mixed outdoor event with access to the indoor spaces, with proof of a vaccine required for those consuming food and beverage indoors.
Evan Arkwright, Chief Executive (Interim) Curragh Racecourse, said about the news: "We were thrilled to hear the positive news earlier this week which will now allow us to welcome back a significant number of attendees for Longines Irish Champions Weekend."
"The whole team at the Curragh is really looking forward to creating the best possible race day experience for what promises to be a magnificent weekend which will showcase the best of Irish Flat racing to a huge global audience."
Listowel’s Harvest Festival, Listowel, Sunday September 19 to Saturday September 25
Tickets for Listowel are currently on sale and to purchase your ticket visit www.listowelraces.ie.
Listowel’s capacity for each of the seven days of their festival will be 2,000 per day and it will be an outdoor-only event.
Pat Healy, Chairperson of the Listowel Racecourse Committee, said: “After the disappointment of 2020 and the empty racecourse enclosures, we are really looking forward to welcoming our friends back to Listowel for the Harvest Festival in just over two weeks’ time.
"It’s a graduated return but it’s a step closer to normality and it’s really important to all involved in Listowel racecourse that everybody who comes enjoys their race day experience."
He added: "A big thanks to our loyal patrons and sponsors for their continued support and a reminder that racing will be live from Listowel each day on Racing TV, with live coverage also on TG4 for six days, Monday to Saturday."
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