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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Inpho/Tommy Dickson Crowds at Leopardstown this afternoon.
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Leopardstown apologise for 'unacceptable' delays on first day of Christmas festival
Bigger crowds than anticipated resulted in long delays at the racecourse’s turnstiles.

LEOPARDSTOWN RACECOURSE AUTHORITIES say they misjudged their admissions system and have apologised to the racegoers who experienced ‘unacceptable’ delays on the opening day of the 2018 Christmas festival. 

Over 13,000 people attended the St Stephen’s Day racing action at the Foxrock track, but many were left frustrated by the lengthy queues at the turnstiles after a bigger than anticipated crowd showed up. 

In a statement released to The42 this evening, Leopardstown chief executive Pat Keogh said organisers had tried to encourage punters to purchase tickets in advance and more scanners were installed at turnstiles to accommodate this. 

However, this caused delays for people who arrived on Wednesday looking to purchase tickets with cash, and organisers were forced to let hundreds of punters in free of charge due to the unprecedented demand. 

Leopardstown will review the system for future meetings at the venue, Keogh added.

“We would like to apologise to the customers that were inconvenienced by the long delays at the turnstiles in Leopardstown this afternoon,” the statement read.

“The crowd was much bigger than we had anticipated and this resulted in long queues at the cash turnstiles. We have a policy to try to encourage people to purchase their tickets in advance and put in a new system that allowed for quicker access for those with pre-purchased tickets.

While it did speed up the entrance for those with tickets, it caused unacceptable delays for those wishing to buy tickets on the day. It was this system added to the unexpectedly large crowd that resulted in this situation.

“We apologise unreservedly for the inconvenience caused. We will review our procedure following this meeting and introduce an admissions system to that best serves our customers.”

An official crowd of 13,218 watched the opening day of racing at the famous festival, as Joseph O’Brien earned a one-two in the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase with Le Richebourg and Us And Them. 

The Leopardstown festival continues on Thursday, with the first race going to post at 12.10pm.

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