Perth Racecourse updates racegoers on plan for Glorious Finale
Following yesterday’s update by the First Minister and today’s Scottish Racing announcement, Perth Racecourse can confirm that its Glorious Finale meeting (September 23 & 24) shall be held behind closed doors.
Today’s Scottish Racing announcement is as follows:
Following the announcement by the First Minister yesterday and the recent increase in the number of Covid cases across Scotland, Scottish Racing is disappointed to announce that none of the five Scottish racecourses are in a position to host a pilot to test a restricted attendance in the immediate future. The racecourses that were actively planning for a pilot event cannot carry the financial liability involved for the pilot to then be cancelled at short notice.
We have had a large amount of support from both racegoers and our local communities, and hope they understand our desire to carry on with our responsible way forward throughout the pandemic. Scottish Racing will continue discussions with Scottish Government as to when it might be appropriate for racecourse pilot events to take place. In the meantime, racing shall continue behind closed doors and we will maintain the strict hygiene protocols to protect all our staff and participants.
The team at Perth had undertaken considerable work and discussions in preparing for a potential pilot event with restricted attendance across both Glorious Finale days with a full operational plan ready to be executed, upon approval. We must thank our local authority Safety Advisory Group for being so supportive and helpful with their guidance throughout this process. In addition, we consulted with all 2020 raceday ticket holders with an email survey inviting their indicative views on attending such an event, which were incredibly positive in terms of feeling safe about attending the races.
However, following developments over the last 24 hours, there is still too much uncertainty around the viability of preparing for a pilot that could easily be prohibited at short notice due to the ongoing pandemic. This means that all advance ticket sales for our final two September fixtures have been cancelled and all ticket holders are being offered two options on their tickets – as per Perth’s terms and conditions – to transfer to equivalent fixture next year or to request a refund.
Hazel Peplinski, Perth Racecourse Chief Executive, said: “First and foremost, we understand that this remains an incredibly difficult situation for everyone and our top priority will always be people’s safety. However it is hard to accept that the whole of 2020 is going to have passed by without having heard one click of the turnstile to welcome a single racegoer on to Perth. The racegoers are our heart and soul of what we do as a racecourse operator and this is really, really tough. Safety is paramount at all times and however hard the decision is to remain Behind Closed Doors for our final two days of the season we cannot take any risks either financially at this time or in terms of the national effort to contain the Covid virus. Perth Racecourse shall re-group and focus our energies on sustainability with our stakeholders – the support we have received continues to be heart-warming and we are determined to bounce back.”