Racing Victoria (RV) wishes to advise of the following update about arrangements for Victorian racing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This update follows this afternoon’s earlier announcement that racing and training would continue in Victoria under strict biosecurity protocols in accordance with all the current directives, guidelines and advice established by the Victorian Government on the advice of the Chief Health Officer.
Following a conference call with all the key stakeholder groups in the Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Industry (VTRI), the following has been determined:
- Effective immediately, all official flat trials will be cancelled until otherwise advised. Victoria had three sets of official flat trials programmed between now and the end of April 2020 being Kyneton (24 March), Cranbourne (30 March) and Tatura (14 April).
- Effective immediately, all jump-outs will be restricted to ‘local horses’, being only those prepared at the training centre or where the trainer has nominated the centre for their grass gallops, until otherwise advised.
RV Stewards are progressing alternate arrangements to allow those horses required to perform satisfactorily at official trials to qualify or be reinstated to race to do so via local jump-outs. Stewards will be in contact with affected trainers to help facilitate a suitable option for them.
RV advises that official jumps racing trials will continue as programmed having considered the safety requirements around qualification and education for these horses and the specialist nature of the facilities required.
Racing Victoria (RV) Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the decision further enhanced the strict protocols in place for the continuation of Victorian racing.
“The announcement to cancel trials and localise jump-outs builds upon the unprecedented actions we have taken over the past fortnight to protect the health and wellbeing of our industry participants and to ensure the continuation of Victorian racing in a safe environment for those who livelihoods depend on it and for our horses who depend on us,” Mr Thompson said.
“Whilst we are in a fortunate position that we can continue racing at this time, we cannot rest on our laurels and we must continually review the protocols that we have in place and ensure that we are acting in the best current interests of the industry and wider community.
“We understand that the decision to cancel trials and localise jump-outs is a further inconvenience for trainers, however we see it as a small price to pay in ensuring that we maintain a safe environment for the continuation of racing and training in Victoria.”
To view RV’s statement earlier this afternoon on the continuation of racing and training within Victoria please click here.
Racing Victoria commenced the introduction of strict protocols to allow for the continuation of racing in a safe environment from Friday, 13 March and has continued to expand these since. The protocols currently in place in Victorian racing include:
- The banning of owners, members, the general public, non-broadcast media and non-essential staff from attending all Victorian race meetings. Only the following people are permitted to attend with all subject to enhanced operating protocols, hygiene and social distancing measures:
- Licensed jockeys engaged to compete at the meeting
- Licensed trainers with runners engaged at the meeting
- Registered stable staff of trainers with runners engaged at the meeting with trainers asked to minimise the number of staff in attendance
- Essential raceday officials and staff
- Official broadcaster (Racing.com) and official photographer (Racing Photos)
- The banning of owners, media and the public from attending training centres and trackwork, with only licensed trainers, registered stablehands, licensed jockeys, RV officials, club staff and essential personnel (vets, farriers, medical staff) permitted to attend.
- Compulsory temperature checks by medical staff at the entrance to each Victorian race meeting with those displaying a temperature of 37.6 or above not be permitted to enter and/or compete. This measure is also being rolled out across training centres and individual stables.
- The banning of jockeys competing in Victoria who have travelled to/from the state since 17 March 2020 via a commercial flight while they complete 14 days self-isolation. Only jockeys who have travelled to/from the state via private vehicle or charter flight are permitted to continue competing.
- The isolation of 21 jockeys into a group known as the ‘Green Team’ who are only permitted to compete at race meetings; are excluded from participating in trackwork and must isolate themselves wherever possible.
- The abandonment of the remainder of the 2019-20 picnic (amateur) racing season which serves as a celebration of racing and a place for communities to gather within country Victoria. Picnic racing is not scheduled to recommence until October 2020.
- The closure of the RV offices and classes for RV’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program until at least 13 April 2020 with staff working remotely where possible.