YORK Racecourse has announced that its Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival will take place without crowds of racegoers later this month.

A spokesman said that after the Government slowed the pace of any easing in the lockdown, it was now clear that the festival, running from Wednesday August 19 to Saturday August 22, would have to operate strictly behind closed doors.

"This is to comply with the Government’s Elite Sport Stage 3 protocols, so the venue will operate as it did for the recent July racedays," he said. "Whilst this is clearly a disappointing decision for racing supporters and many in our home city; it is right that the public health is kept as a priority."

He stressed that the many highlights of the four days will be available to view from the comfort of home, with ITV1 showing five races a day and Racing TV all twenty-eight contests.

He said customers who booked direct with York Racecourse for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2020 were entitled to a full refund and would be contacted by email, but they were being asked to transfer their bookings to next summer.