Cheltenham had previously hoped for a crowd of 2,000, as was the case in December, but the latest lockdown rules are a blow

It is less than a month since Cheltenham’s International meeting in December offered a brief glimpse of a brighter future for racing, as 2,000 spectators watched the action from the stands and dared to hope that they might do so again at the Festival meeting in March. A much grimmer reality has since intervened, however, and with the country now heading into its third national lockdown, it seems increasingly unlikely that even owners with runners will be able to watch their horses compete at the Festival in 10 weeks’ time.

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