ROYAL Ascot will not take place this year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

Ascot Racecourse’s flagship five-day event will not be open to the public but bosses still hope to be able to broadcast the popular outing behind closed doors.

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Guy Henderson, Ascot Racecourse’s Chief Executive, read: “For public health and safety reasons we have reached the difficult but unavoidable conclusion Royal Ascot 2020 (Tuesday 16th - Saturday 20th June) will not be able to take place as an event open to the public. 

“This will, of course, be a great disappointment for everyone planning to attend.

“It may prove possible to run the Royal Ascot races behind closed doors, dependent on government and public health policy and the approval of the BHA for us to re-start racing.  

“This would be for the benefit of the industry, our valued partners and suppliers and our television audiences at home and internationally.

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“Planning for this is now our complete focus and we will update on progress as and when we can.”

Customers who have already paid for their Royal Ascot entry will be refunded in full “as quickly as possible.”

The lockdown will have a “significant “ financial impact on Ascot Racecourse’s business, Henderson added, but he assured racegoers the company will “come through this crisis”. 

He continued: “We look forward to being able to welcome racegoers back when it is safe to do so.

“Meanwhile, our thoughts are with all those grieving and suffering as a result of COVID-19.  

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“We offer heartfelt thanks to our wonderful NHS staff, key workers and volunteers for all their selfless dedication.”

Ascot racecourse has already had to cancel all of its race meetings until the end of April.