Pontefract Park to close this spring for 'behind closed doors' horse racing
Pontefract Park will be temporarily closing to the public on three separate days this spring to enable Pontefract Racecourse to hold 'behind closed door' race meetings.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected how the Race Company at Pontefract Park has been able to hold race meetings - which usually runs from April to October.
Under the rules, races can be held behind closed doors and to do this the park must close on race days to members of the public between 7am and 7pm. This action is required to meet the strict government regulations which are being administered by the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA).
Under historical rights the Race Company may close the park during a race meeting and last year, for the first time in their history they were forced to do so, due to the unprecedented circumstances.
The Race Company has been working with the BHA to arrange for horse racing to take place behind closed doors on the following dates:
Tuesday, April 6
Monday, April 19 and
Wednesday, April 28.
The Park will be closed on each of these days from 7am until 7pm.
Andrew Balchin, Wakefield Council's Chief Executive, said: "We understand that the temporary closure of Pontefract Park on these days may disappoint some people and we're sorry for any inconvenience it may cause.
"We have developed a close partnership with the Race Company over many years and during this time the Company has done a great deal of work to improve the appearance of the park for the visiting public. The Company have also worked extremely hard to ensure that the closures cause minimum disruption.
"Horse racing at Pontefract Park is an integral part of our history and I know many of our residents enjoy a visit to the racecourse. The horse racing industry, like many others, has taken a huge hit during the coronavirus outbreak and holding the race meetings behind closed doors is the only way, at the moment, for the racing to take place.
"I hope people will understand the need to do this and support the long standing tradition of horse racing in Pontefract."
When the last race has finished on each race day in April the public will be allowed to enter the park from 7pm. The Race Company will be responsible for enforcing the park closure and will be placing stewards and signage at all entrance and exit points around the park to support the closure.
Wakefield Council has provided information and guidance on its dedicated coronavirus information web page at bit.ly/CoronaWFD