Chester Racecourse has this morning announced that the Boodles May Festival, due to take place on Tuesday 5 – Thursday 7 May 2020, has been cancelled in response to the continuing development of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated concerns for public health and safety.
Following UK Government guidelines and after close consultation with the local authority and the emergency services, it was clear that it would be impossible to draw upon the support required to run this event. With our proximity to the city centre and public access around the perimeter of the racecourse, any racing behind closed doors was considered impossible within the current climate.
Chief Executive of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas, said:
“It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of this year’s Boodles May Festival. After much deliberating, we felt it necessary under these exceptional circumstances to mitigate any associated risk with running the festival and protect the safety and wellbeing of the visiting members of the public, horsemen, associated industry personnel and our workforce.
“I would like to thank the BHA for their support in what has been an exceptionally difficult decision. Following guidance from the UK Government and NHS, we believe this is the right thing to do at this juncture. Those who have purchased tickets will be issued a full refund and our teams will be communicating directly with customers over the coming days.”
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer at the BHA, said:
“Like racing fans everywhere, we’re disappointed that the Boodles May Festival won’t be able to take place this year because of the social distancing restrictions which are expected still to be in place. Chester’s magnificent setting by the city walls makes racing ‘behind closed doors’ unenforceable. Some courses are suited to racing without the public and that is the focus of the industry’s plans to resume from May 1st onwards if that’s possible. We look forward to racing again at this beautiful course when that’s possible.”
Information for those directly affected by the decision to abandon will be communicated directly. This statement and wider information regarding the cancellation of the Boodles May Festival will be made available and regularly updated on the official Chester Racecourse website: www.chester-races.com