Pontefract Park to close on four further race days to support ‘behind closed door’ racing
Pontefract Park will be temporarily closed to the public on a further four separate days this year to allow Pontefract Racecourse to hold ‘behind closed door’ race meetings.
After the coronavirus pandemic, the only way for the horse racing season to resume in June was for the Race Company to hold race meetings behind closed doors at Pontefract Park.
These previous four meetings were on the original race meeting fixture list which was agreed and in place before the pandemic took effect.
Merran McRae, Wakefield Council’s Chief Executive, said: “I’d like to thank residents for their patience and understanding on the days the park has been closed due to behind closed doors meetings and we’re sorry for any inconvenience these further closures 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 has also worked extremely hard to ensure that the closures cause minimum disruption, by not holding any race meetings on weekends or evenings.”
Horse racing is to take place behind closed doors on the following dates: Thursday, September 17, Thursday, September 24, Monday, October 5 and Monday, October 19
In order to hold these meetings behind closed doors, the park must close to members of the public on race days between 7am and 7pm - the public will be allowed to enter the park at the end of this time-slot.
Under the terms of the lease, the Race Company has the right to close the park during a race meeting and this is the first time in their history that they have been forced to do so.
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.
There will be no further race meetings in the park this year following the last race in October.
Merran McRae, Wakefield Council’s Chief Executive, said: “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.”