Course chiefs stay­ing silent over plans to com­bat drone threat

Gloucestershire Echo - - RACING -

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CHEL­TENHAM of­fi­cials have de­clined to spec­u­late on re­ports plans have been put in place to en­list the help of a spe­cial­ist com­pany to com­bat the threat of drones at next month’s Fes­ti­val.

Re­ports on Thurs­day named a firm un­der­stood to have been re­cruited by Jockey Club Race­courses to help mit­i­gate against the prac­tice preva­lent this win­ter - of fly­ing drones over venues dur­ing race days.

Drones have been spot­ted at sev­eral tracks around the coun­try, re­port­edly in or­der to send live footage of races to in-run­ning gam­blers seek­ing an edge sev­eral sec­onds ahead of broad­cast cov­er­age.

Ex­tra aerial traf­fic is an ob­vi­ous po­ten­tial safety and se­cu­rity con­cern at high-pro­file meet­ings such as the spring fes­ti­vals at Chel­tenham and Ain­tree - an­other Jockey Club track.

A spokesper­son for Chel­tenham ref­er­enced that con­sid­er­a­tion, while point­ing out course pol­icy to of­fer no fur­ther com­ment on the is­sue.

A brief state­ment read: “We don’t dis­close the de­tails of our se­cu­rity plans as part of en­sur­ing we de­liver safe and en­joy­able events.”

Drones have caused se­vere de­lays to flights at ma­jor air­ports such as Gatwick and Dublin in re­cent months, and an ex­ist­ing ex­clu­sion zone is to be ex­tended up to three miles as of March 13.

That mea­sure will ap­ply to Chel­tenham too, be­cause the course is li­censed for he­li­copter ar­rivals and de­par­tures for own­ers, train­ers and jock­eys.

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