LOCAL racegoers banned from Salisbury racecourse because of the coronavirus restrictions can console themselves with the news they can watch terrestrial coverage of the next meeting from the comfort of their armchairs.

ITV4, which has increasingly been showing racing on Sundays, have selected the track as their main meeting on August 9.

Salisbury normally has a two day meeting in the middle of the month but when the fixture list was rescheduled through the covid-19 disease, it was allocated the new Sunday fixture.

Jeremy Martin, clerk of the course, told the Journal: "We heard it was quite possible that ITV4 would want to cover the meeting provided we got three other suitable races in addition to the Sovereign Stakes which has been brought forward."

TV cameras at Salisbury are nothing new.

Every year the broadcaster takes in a handicap as part of its coverage on 1,000 Guineas day but there was a time when Salisbury's first meeting of the year formed part of the old ITV7.

Its most historic moment came in April, 1979, when Steve Cauthen, who the previous year had become the youngest jockey to win the US Triple Crown on the legendary Affirmed, switched to England because of increasing weight problems and won on his first mount when the Barry Hills trained Marquee Universal ploughed through the mud to win the 2,000 Guineas trial but so incessant was the deluge throughout the day that vehicles were still being pulled out of the mire that had been the car park after dark.

The racecourse executive took note and the meeting was soon dropped.

Sadly, the course's flagship event, the one mile group three race Sovereign Stakes, which is contested by colts and geldings, has had its prize money slashed. Traditionally it carries a purse of some £65,000 but this year it has been cut to £37,000.

"It's very unfortunate but times are tough," Martin reflected.

The three other eye catching races are a class two conditions race for three-year-olds and upwards, a five furlong class two sprint and a class three one mile handicap for fillies.

Racing gets under way at 12.45 with a nine race card which could become ten if one race has to be divided because of the number of entries.

The second day of the meeting however remains unaffected and will take place the following Thursday with the Upavon Stakes run over ten furlongs for three-year-old fillies and upwards as the feature.

Salisbury has a third meeting in August on the 21st but its future fixtures are as yet unknown. The original list saw the course race on September 3 and 11 but those have yet to be confirmed.

"The schedules for September are still being debated," Martin explained.