Cheltenham Festival will continue to go ahead as normal as punters gear up for Ladies’ Day amid the spread of the coronavirus.
A number of sporting events have been cancelled, with Manchester City vs Arsenal in the Premier League postponed overnight.
While the high-profile football fixture was due to take place tonight, Cheltenham is not in danger of being called off at this point.
Around 60,000 are expected in attendance each day at the 2020 Festival, with yesterday’s events a roaring success for the sport of horse racing.
Organisers ensured measures were in place for safety precautions, including a mobile pharmacy being on site.
Increased wash basins and hand sanitiser stations have been put in place, with aggregate crowds across four days this week expected to top 250,000, flocking to the Cotswolds from Britain, Ireland and France.
Punters will flock to Cheltenham today for Ladies’ Day, and the racecourse’s official Twitter account has indicated everything is going ahead as normal.
They posted early this morning: “We’re all set for Day Two of the #CheltenhamFestival”.
Ian Renton, regional head of racing south-west for Jockey Club Racecourses was asked what impact the cancellation of the 2020 Festival would have had ahead of day one.
Renton said: “We do have insurance to cover these events – as we said, we would have followed the advice whichever way it went.
“I think everyone is very much looking forward to these four days. The Festival is very much a UK and Ireland event – that is where the horses, jockeys and trainers come from.
“We’ve got a few runners from France over the four days, but it’s less international than Flat racing.
“It’s a huge event for all the participants, as well as locally – it’s a big event for the local economy, so we’re very pleased the Government has taken the view that the Festival should go ahead this year.”
Big-race jockeys were briefed by staff at the course as to the importance of hygiene and also recognising any potential symptoms.
Harry Cobden, who will ride Clan Des Obeaux in the Gold Cup on Friday, said: “The doctors, as you would expect, are taking it all very seriously – and if anyone does have any symptoms we are to report them straightaway.
“We have been told to wash our hands more regularly, like what has been advised, for at least 20 seconds.
“We had a talk at the start of racing at Taunton yesterday, and we are having another talk before racing today.”