Did Boris Johnson delay social gathering clampdown so that St Leger horse races can take place?

Dido Harding: Corrupt?

Is it really a coincidence that Boris Johnson’s new clampdown on social gatherings involving more than six people is to be imposed on Monday, allowing the St Leger horse racing festival to take place first?

Is it a coincidence that the St Leger is organised by the Jockey Club, which counts among its directors Dido Harding – who also happens to be in charge of the Serco (not NHS) Test and Trace fiasco?

Would it be more accurate to say that Ms Harding’s priority is the racing track, rather than Track and Trace?

People on Twitter certainly have their opinions about this:

While we’re discussing Test/Track/Trace, let’s remind ourselves that UK citizens have been forced to traipse around the country trying to get tests, as the Serco-run system for which Ms Harding is responsible has been unable to provide enough – even though (I hear on PMQs) 75,000 test kits are wasted every day.

Why isn’t Ms Harding doing the rounds of the studios explaining why we should not attribute the delay of the social gathering lockdown to her own corruption?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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  1. sjenks2014 September 9, 2020 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    while i cannot dispute that it’s obv a “bit” of a coincidence that Cheltenham was still allowed to go ahead before lockdown, and the St Leger week (starting today) was one of the trial sites today; the fact remains that ALL of this year’s Classics (as well as as selected other racing) have been run behind closed doors since the restart other than for immediate connections i.e. initially relevant stable staff only, tho that was later extended to include a limited no. of owners, and a handful of bookies.

    i’m not condoning their “somewhat” select choice of sports/venues for the trials even remotely, and i say that as a racing fan!

    however, it is also fact that while today’s Doncaster trial was allowed to go ahead, further planned trials for the rest of this week were cancelled following the announcement last night.


    • Mike Sivier September 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      Public admittance to Doncaster was cancelled today (September 9) after I published my story about it.

      • sjenks2014 September 10, 2020 at 6:43 am - Reply

        without doubt a correct decision.

        it is also worth pointing out (esp for readers who aren’t keen racing fans) that an earlier planned trial at Chester Races was cancelled (albeit at a *far* lower profile meeting), and that the trial on Wednesday was restricted to 2500 invited racegoers only.

        while i fully agree with the overall ‘thrust’ of your article, the pic on the follow-up article might suggest to non racing fans that similar attendance levels as at the 2019 St Leger would be there this year. that was never going to be the case in 2020, with only around 3000 (max) invited racegoers attending subject to Wednesday’s trial being deemed a success

        however, that was not the case at Cheltenham Festival, where on the day i was fortunate (or potentially very unfortunate!) enough to be there, the crowd was in excess of 54,000 and that wasn’t even on Gold Cup day when even more people were there!

        as above, i fully agree with the overall ‘thrust’ of your article, and am just pointing out a couple of things that the wider (non racing fan) public may not be aware of.

      • sjenks2014 September 10, 2020 at 7:01 am - Reply

        re my last comment, at Cheltenham the covid measures were almost laughable, and essentially amounted to “please don’t come in if you have any symptoms including e.g. a cough”.

        you can imagine how much attention was paid to the “wash your hands for 20 seconds” recommendation, as if every racegoer using the toilets had done that, the queues would ‘ve been horrendous, and by definition they’d have missed most/all of the remaining races i.e. it was simply *never* going to happen!

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