Royal Ascot will be watched by 12,000 racegoers each day next month, serving as one of the UK government's Covid-19 pilot events.
British Flat racing's biggest occasion takes place this year from 15 - 19 June and has been selected, along with the second cricket Test match between England and New Zealand, to be part of the Events Research Programme (ERP) on behalf of the sport.
Organisers had anticipated welcoming crowds of just 4,000 to the track each day but they have been given permission to admit three times that amount.
Guy Henderson, Chief Executive at Ascot Racecourse, said: "We are delighted that Royal Ascot has been accepted to play its part in the next phase of the Government’s Events Research Programme. We much look forward to welcoming 12,000 racegoers each day.
"Our thanks go to our industry bodies, the British Horseracing Authority and the Racecourse Association, which led the preparation of the submission to Government."
Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), also welcomed the news: "It is excellent news that Ascot will be included in the Events Research Programme as a pilot event. It is an opportunity to demonstrate how racing events are perfectly suited to safely hosting spectators in greater numbers as we progress through the Government’s roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions.
"We are grateful to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and this outcome reflects the strong and positive relationship between racing and Government. Working with colleagues we will ensure that our participants remain protected to the same degree that has been achieved with racing’s bespoke coronavirus protocols since resumption in June 2020."
David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association (RCA), added: "I am so pleased that Royal Ascot has been selected as part of the ERP program.
"The RCA and the Industry Return of Spectators Group have worked closely with the ERP (and its predecessor groups) to develop pilot options across racing which demonstrate the safe nature of the racecourse environment and the strength of our operating protocols.
"The Ascot team have done an outstanding job in configuring the course for this pilot and racegoers and participants alike can look forward to an exceptional Royal Ascot experience delivered to the highest standards of safety."
Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the
Play Store &
App Store right now! We've got you covered!
Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us
on Facebook or follow us on Twitter
for the latest sporting news and content.