Irish Derby Meeting First to Welcome Racegoers

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Santiago wins the Irish Derby before an empty grandstand | Racingfotos.com

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby meeting on June 26 is expected to be the first racing fixture in the country to welcome up to 1,000 fans, the Taoiseach Micheal Martin confirmed Friday evening. Horse owners are expected to be allowed on course beginning June 7. The Irish Field was first to report the news.

“We expect to be in a position to welcome owners back on track with effect from June 7,” HRI Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh told the publication. “This would be a brilliant outcome as owners have been incredibly patient during the last 12 months, keeping the industry going and continuing to support racing despite not being able to attend in person.”

The Irish Field reported that HRI has submitted proposals to the government laying out how owners, sponsors and a limited number of racegoers might be accommodated. The Irish Field said that it had been confirmed that horse racing will be part of the government's trials for the return of crowds to sporting events.

Irish Field reports that no indoor facilities will be accessible to owners or fans.

“Initially, everything will be outdoors. But as indoor dining returns more generally then hopefully those type of options will become available,” Kavanagh told the paper.

Peter Burke, Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath and Minister for State, has been a proponent of the racing industry in Government since the onset of COVID-19 and told Irish Field: “As our economy continues to reopen, it is crucial we build up capacity at racecourses to build in viability and to acknowledge the huge impact and spin-off racing has to our local economy, in terms of jobs and investment. I have worked to ensure racing is prioritised by Government over the months ahead.”

Earlier this week, it was announced that up to 12,000 fans will be admitted to each of the five days of the Royal Ascot meeting next month.

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