Full crowds back in Ireland – but it’s taken too long
Danny Scutchings on the news that full crowds can, at long last, return to Irish racecourses – but it’s taken too long
Well, it seems Irish racecourses can finally welcome back full crowds as attendance limits look set to be scraped from Friday after a relaxation of nationwide Covid restrictions in Ireland has been announced.
Horse Racing Ireland is still awaiting clarity with racecourses’ ability to greet unrestricted crowds to be determined by each of the tracks.
The announcement has come too soon for most courses hosting meetings this weekend, but Wexford hope their fixtures on Sunday and Monday can be close to normal if jockeys are allowed to return to the weighing room and with the indoor dining areas to be used for the public.
Sligo is the first course that can host a meeting with unrestricted crowds this Friday but, as of writing, they are only allowing members with a guest and owners to be in attendance, this being their last meeting until 1 May.
Racing also takes place at Dundalk on Friday but so far they have yet to receive any guidelines so cannot make any announcement.
Galway hosts it’s final meeting of the year from Saturday to Monday and they hope to be able to increase indoor dining numbers.
Meanwhile, Leopardstown also has racing on Saturday and their chef executive Tim Husbands called Tuesday’s news an optimistic day for Ireland and horseracing but that it would not have an impact on the weekend’s meeting.
This news has been far too long coming but finally common sense has prevailed and hopefully the courses that have been struggling can begin to get back to normal.
This is a sport that needs crowds and as was shown on British Champions Day last weekend being able to cheer horses home makes a day at the races more exciting.