Racing Victoria (RV) wishes to advise of the following update about arrangements for Victorian racing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RV Board has approved the following protocols around the transport of thoroughbred racehorses into Victoria with effect from midnight [AEST] tonight - Friday, 27 March 2020.
These horse movement protocols seek to enhance the strict biosecurity protocols that are currently in place in for the safe conduct of racing and training in Victoria.
In the event that a thoroughbred racehorse is transported to Victoria after midnight [AEST] on Friday, 27 March 2020 the following arrangements will apply:
Transport by Approved Float Companies
1. Where Government regulations allow, horses will be permitted to travel to Victoria, however any licensed or registered personnel, or essential personnel (being those currently approved for access to race meetings and training centres) are not permitted to travel with such horses, other than employees of the Approved Float Company.
An “Approved Float Company” is any Float Company which is registered as a transport company, and which has sought and been granted approval by Racing Victoria Stewards to transport racing thoroughbred horses to Victoria from interstate.
2. Transport Drivers (Freight Drivers) are to make prior arrangements with drop off points and are not to access Licensed Premises when delivering horses (unless otherwise approved by Racing Victoria Stewards). They must remain within their cabin and a designated Victorian staff member of the horse’s trainer must be on hand to take delivery of the horse being transported.
3. When being transported the equipment used for, or on, the horse (e.g. head collar and lead) must be the property of the stable and not the Float Company and such equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after transportation to minimise any risk of COVID-19 being spread within the stable environment.
4. Prior to and upon completion of the journey the Float Company must ensure the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize any risk of COVID-19 being spread on future journeys.
5. Any Transport Driver undertaking interstate travel must not enter Licensed Premises or act in another industry capacity (e.g. strapper or stablehand) whereby they enter a racecourse or training complex in that capacity for a period of 14 days from the date they last entered Victoria from interstate.
Transport other than by Approved Float Company
1. Where Government regulations allow, horses will be permitted to travel from interstate to Victoria, however if the transport is other than with an Approved Float Company, the person transporting that horse (and any persons who come into close contact with that person) will not be permitted access to any racetrack or other Licensed Premises in Victoria for a period of at least 14 days.
RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “We continue to review the protocols governing the safe conduct of racing and training in Victoria and, as flagged, horse movement is one area that we have been focused on over recent days.
“Whilst the COVID-19 coronavirus does not affect horses, we need to ensure that the appropriate protocols are in place to manage the people handling them.
“The measures passed by the Board further strengthen the framework in place for the safe continuation of racing and training in Victoria and ensure that the appropriate horse welfare standards are maintained, whilst further reducing the risks to our industry participants.”
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 cancellation of official flat trials and the restriction of jump-outs (unofficial trials) to local horses only at each of the state’s training centres.
- The banning of owners, media and the public from attending training centres and trackwork, including trials and jump-outs, 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 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 banning of all licensed and registered participants, essential staff and essential personnel who enter the state after 6pm on 26 March 2020 from attending a race meeting, training centre, racecourse or Licensed Premises for at least 14 days, irrespective of where they are licensed, registered or their primary place of residence.
- 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 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.