ROYAL ASCOT is cutting crowd numbers for this year’s landmark meeting – in a bid to ‘improve the experience’.
But bosses of the £1million Grand National expect 70,000 punters to flock to Aintree on April 9 as the world’s most famous race comes back with a bang.
The two racecourses are adopting different plans in anticipation of the full return of racegoers.
Royal Ascot took place last June with a limited capacity due to coronavirus restrictions.
The daily attendance was capped at 12,000 then – which is roughly double the amount the crowd will be limited by this summer, when The Queen could attend as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Bosses say the plan is for total attendances across three areas of the racecourse – the Royal, Queen Anne and Windsor Enclosures – to fall from 51,500 to 44,100.
Felicity Barnard, Commercial Director at Ascot, said: “This year we will be focusing on customer experience and making sure everyone who visits is having the best possible time.
“We’ll have a few less people in some of those enclosures this year.
“Hopefully that will give the feeling of space and greater enjoyment.
“Aside from the world class racing we put on, customer experience really is at the heart of everything we do.
“By giving them the best experience during the Royal meeting we can encourage them to come throughout the year. It’s part of a long-term plan.”
Meanwhile, Jockey Club north west director Dickon White told the Racing Post that he expects Aintree to be packed in April.
The Grand National will finally be run with fans after being cancelled in 2020 and held behind closed doors last year.
Prize money for the jewel in the crown of the racing calendar is also to return to the pre-pandemic level of £1m.
White said: “We’re delighted that we’re putting the race back to £1m with Randox’s support.
“The demand for admission tickets and for hospitality is higher than it’s ever been before.
“That is possibly in part down to the Rachael Blackmore factor, after her win last year.
“We’re really thrilled with the interest in people coming to attend and we’re planning towards a full crowd but we are in constant discussions with our local authority and our director of public health about the Covid situation in and around Merseyside.
“We’ll ensure we have the protocols in place to deliver what’s required.”
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