PLUMPTON Racecourse officials are coming to terms with the implications of racing behind closed doors.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) released a statement yesterday confirming all meetings from today in England, Wales and Scotland will be without crowds until the end of March in a measure to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities in France announced yesterday racing will be suspended from today until April 15.

Plumpton is one of the first meetings to be affected in the country by the BHA ruling as their Sky Sports Racing Springs Jumps meeting is hosted tomorrow.

Chief executive Dan Thompson said: “We will follow the official guidance of course, but we are still trying to come to terms with the ramifications and what it means for us as the news only broke today (Monday).

“Over the coming hours we will work out matters such as how many people will come in like stable staff, et cetera.”

Thompson added: “It will have quite a significant impact as the spectators bring in a bulk of the money we make through tickets and hospitality packages.

“For people looking to come to watch and have a good day out they will now miss out unfortunately.”

The prospect of racing taking place at all was thrown into doubt last night when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the next stage of measures for tackling the pandemic.

The Prime Minister said all people in the UK should avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, stop all non-essential contact and travel, and work from home if they can.

A further statement was issued by the BHA stating British racing’s COVID-19 steering group would contact the Government for “further guidance as to any implications” with an update to be issued today.

For now, Plumpton is counting the cost of losing revenue generated through spectators and issuing refunds for tickets and hospitality packages.

Thompson said: “We will make a loss through things like that as we will refund tickets, et cetera.

“We will be looking at the scheme where small business can claim money back through the government for any losses suffered through the coronavirus outbreak.

“Over the next few days we will sit down and do the sums as to how it has affected us financially.”

It is not just tomorrow’s meeting which could be behind closed doors for the racecourse.

If racing does continue, the prospect of the policy going into April is on the horizon.

Plumpton’s Sussex Raceday meeting takes place on April 5 and their Easter racecards over April 12-13.

Thompson said: “It depends on what the coronavirus outbreak is like come the end of the month.

“However, it would have an impact if those fixtures were to be behind closed doors as the Easter Sunday and Monday meetings are massive events for us, but we will just see what the situation is like the nearer the time.”