TOMORROW'S raceday at Taunton Racecourse is set to take place 'behind closed doors'.

The event, set to take place tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17), will be one of the first in England to take place in this way.

Customers are being asked to contact the racecourse to discuss refunds.

While the plan is currently for the races to go ahead, without spectators, plans could change at the last minute.

The British Horseracing Authority is notifying the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the plan agreed today.

The chief executive of the BHA, Nick Rust, said: “Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities and we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.

“The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services. We also have a range of measures in place designed in response to the government’s guidance on public health and we will continue to update these as appropriate.

“We acknowledge that today’s decision will also impact on local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, who are struggling at this time. We are following the government’s advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity and will continue to do so. We thank our customers and staff for their support.”

Access to the racecourse will be strictly limited to essential participants only i.e. jockeys, trainers, racecourse staff, stable grooms and officials.

A spokesperson for Taunton Racecourse said: "Taunton Racecourse shares the same objective as the government and the wider community, which is to slow the spread of the coronavirus while maintaining a level of activity which will sustain business – especially the rural enterprises that form the broad base of the horseracing industry.

"While racing without a crowd will impact the racecourse financially, the more pressing need is to agree a programme that is sustainable in the light of possible staff absences, including in critical roles, which protects industry staff and supports the wider effort to free up critical public services and to try and maintain some level of economic activity."

They added all tickets purchased in advance will be refunded to the card of payment in the next five days.