Royal Ascot confirm event will not be open to the public amid coronavirus fears

Ascot have announced this year's Royal meeting will be held behind closed doors "for public health and safety reasons", if it goes ahead as planned in June.

The five-day fixture not only features top class on-track action, but is also a renowned social occasion, with the Queen's carriage procession before racing a highlight for many.

However, officials have announced the public will not be permitted to attend this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Guy Henderson, Ascot's chief executive said: "For public health and safety reasons, we have reached the difficult but unavoidable conclusion that Royal Ascot 2020 (June 16-20) will not be able to take place as an event open to the public.

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

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