Horse Racing Ireland has confirmed that the Listowel Harvest Festival and September's Longines Irish Champions Weekend will be run behind closed doors.
The Champions Weekend Committee say they've decided to host their cards at Leopardstown and the Curragh without spectators "in light of the current uncertainty around COVID-19".
The Irish Champion Stakes and the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes will be run at an empty Leopardstown on Saturday September the 12th.
While the card at the Curragh on the following day will feature four Group One races, the Comer Group International Irish St Leger, the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes.
“With less than eight weeks to go before Longines Irish Champions Weekend, it was the Committee’s view that this was the optimum time to give people certainty," Paul Dermody, Chief Executive of HRI Racecourses, said of the announcement.
It is a great shame that our feature weekend of Flat racing will not be enjoyed by racegoers in person this September, but we will ensure a warm welcome for everybody when they return next year.
"In the meantime, we will be refunding all of those who availed of early-bird and advance ticket offers. We will now focus our attention on providing racing fans with a brilliant at-home experience.”
Pat Healy, Chairman of Listowel Race Company, says it was an "extremely difficult decision" to hold their seven day meeting behind closed doors.
The seven-day festival, featuring the Guinness Kerry National, takes place from Sunday September the 20th to Saturday September the 26th.