COVID-19 Update - Interstate Acceptors and Arrival Times

Racing Victoria (RV) wishes to advise of the following update about arrangements for Victorian racing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Racing and training is currently permitted to continue in Victoria under strict biosecurity protocols developed in accordance with all the current directives, guidelines and advice established by the Victorian Government on the advice of the Chief Health Officer.

That said, RV is continually reviewing the industry’s biosecurity protocols which serve to protect the health of industry staff, participants and the wider community; as well as minimise the risk of participants catching the virus which may in turn impact on the continuation of racing.

Following consultation with the Australian Trainers Association (ATA), the following additional protocols will be implemented until otherwise advised:

Arrival time for horses on metropolitan racedays

The RV Board has today approved and the Victorian Racing Integrity Board (VRIB) has endorsed the following amendment to Local Rule 57(1)(a):

(a) at a Metropolitan Race Meeting: within the Metropolitan Area: not less than two hours one hour before the time appointed for the starting of the race.

The temporary reduction to a one-hour arrival deadline for horses competing at metropolitan meetings held at metropolitan tracks brings those meetings in line with country meetings. This measure is in place whilst the industry manages strict biosecurity protocols during COVID-19 pandemic.

The change gives consideration to the current reduction in the number people on-course and the industry efforts to ensure that trainers and/or their essential staff are on track for the shortest time possible.  

The conduct of pre-race sampling and veterinary inspections will not be diminished with trainers on notice that this will be conducted closer to individual race times as a biproduct of the new measure to further safeguard the industry.

Interstate horses competing in Victoria

Effective from 9am (AEST) on Saturday, 4 April 2020 for all Victorian race meetings being conducted from Sunday, 5 April 2020 onwards:

  • any interstate horse accepted to race in Victoria must be placed in the care of a Victorian trainer and located at that trainer’s stable by 9am on the day prior to the race;

  • the interstate trainer must notify RV Stewards, in writing, of the Victorian trainer who will have care and responsibility for their horse while it is located in Victoria; and

  • if any of these requirements are not met the horse will not be permitted to start in any race for which it has accepted, and action may be taken against any person responsible for such failure.

In introducing this protocol, all interstate trainers are also reminded of the protocols announced by the RV Board on Friday, 27 March 2020 with effect from midnight (AEST) that evening regarding the transport of horses into Victoria. That being, in summary:

  • 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 RV Stewards to transport racing thoroughbred horses to Victoria from interstate; and

  • 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.

Click here to view the 27 March 2020 RV Media Release on horse movement protocols.

Furthermore, all trainers are reminded of the protocols introduced by the RV Board on 24 March 2020 regarding those persons entering Victoria after 6pm (AEST) on Thursday, 26 March 2020. That being, in summary:

  • any licensed or registered person (including trainers and their staff), essential staff or essential personnel (being those currently approved for access to race meetings and training centres) that arrives in Victoria after 6pm (AEST) on Thursday, 26 March is not permitted entry to any racecourses, training centres or Licensed Premises. Anyone that does is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must not return to race meetings, training centres or any other Licensed Premises at the completion of the isolation period if they are feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

Click here to view the 24 March 2020 RV Media Release on interstate arrivals protocols.

Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, said: “We are continually reviewing our biosecurity protocols in consultation with the industry stakeholder groups and learning from our collective experiences over the past three weeks.

“The temporary reduction in the time a horse is required to be on course at metropolitan race meetings is to reduce the time, where possible, that trainers and their staff spend on course with their horse.

“In adjusting our Local Rules, we have made it clear to the ATA that we’ll not be compromising our integrity program to achieve this, and that pre-race sampling and veterinary checks will be maintained at current levels.

“In terms of interstate horses competing in Victoria, we welcome their participation whilst Government regulations allow, however we must ensure that the framework we have in place minimises all interactions between Victorian-based participants and those from interstate.  

“All participants are reminded that when a horse is transported into Victoria by anyone other than an Approved Float Company the person doing so must not enter a racecourse, training centre or Licensed Premises and must not interact with any Victorian-based participant.”