IT HAS already lost a quarter of its 2020 programme and worse will almost certainly follow, but there is no danger of Salisbury racecourse going out of business.

Chairman Jeff Smith says the future is safe, though it is unlikely to be open until mid-summer at the earliest.

"I can confirm with full conviction we have adequate resources," he told the Journal. "We could go through the whole season without racing and would be okay. There is no threat to the racecourse. We have no debts at all."

The course should have held its first meeting on April 26 but that fixture as well as the three scheduled for this month have also been lost.

The course had been allocated two fixtures next month but because of the Coved-19 restrictions, any action will have to take place behind closed doors and Salisbury is very unlikely to qualify because of its lack of nearby overnight accommodation.

However Smith, who is chairman of the Southampton-bsed AIM group and owner of Littleton Stud, near Winchester, stressed It was important to keep matters in perspective.

"It is pretty devastating for Salisbury but we are a only racecourse. You must look at the wider context. People are dying and it is essential to keep a sense of balance."

With the need to hire security, bar and catering staff, he believes it will take the course two - three weeks to become fully operational and he fears it will not be until July the course is finally open to the public.

Meanwhile permanent staff are working from home except the groundsman who has kept the course in pristine condition.

It is very much a summer course and a principal reasons why the executive will not be pressing the BHA into granting them alternative fixtures for all the meetings that have been lost.

Smith is fearful that too much racing towards the end of the season will an adverse affect on the ground for next year but if the weather in July and August, he hopes it will be possible for them to stage an extra card in October.

However, when it does re-open, punters will be able to enjoy their winnings or drown their sorrows in a new look to the paddock bar which has been upgraded at a substantial cost.