An update to owners from CEO Giles Thompson

I’m pleased to advise you that owners will once again be permitted entry to Victorian race meetings from today onwards.

The industry is incredibly grateful for the continued support and investment of owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owners have funded the training, care and welfare of our horses and have kept people in jobs right across Victoria with their ongoing commitment.

That’s why we’re delighted that the Victorian Government has seen fit to provide the approvals that allow us to welcome owners back to the track.  

As we take this first cautious step back to normality, owner attendance will only be permitted under strict protocols and in line with all Government directives.

Given the ongoing presence of COVID-19 in Victoria and the tightening of social restrictions last weekend, please note that the raceday experience that will initially be offered to owners will not be the same as you’re used to.

Overview of protocols governing owner attendance

Owner attendance at Victorian race meetings from today until otherwise advised will be underpinned by the following essential protocols:

  • A time limit on attendance at the race meeting which will require owners to depart the racecourse following the race in which their final runner is engaged. Permitted arrival times will be managed on a per meeting basis subject to Club facilities and plans;
  • A maximum of 30 owners per race with pre-registration required and compulsory provision of details on the day for contact tracing. Only named owners will be permitted to attend and no guests are allowed which includes spouses or partners who are not named owners;
  • Clubs will determine the allocation of tickets to owners in each race with the guiding principle of at least one owner per horse having the opportunity to attend. Please note that, in satisfying the necessary protocols, some Clubs may not be able to welcome the maximum number of owners per race;
  • Owners to be managed by Clubs in accordance with Victoria’s social gathering guidelines with adherence to all social distancing directives and density requirements;
  • Up to 20 owners will be permitted for each indoor space at a racecourse provided they are seated in accordance with hospitality guidelines;
  • Up to 10 owners can gather in a group outdoors at a racecourse provided they remain separate from other groups; and
  • The segregation of owners from racing participants meaning that access to the mounting yard and stabling area by owners is prohibited and no crossover will be permitted between the two halves of the racecourse.

It is important to note that the application of these protocols may differ slightly from one track to another given its infrastructure and available facilities.

When your horse is accepted to race in Victoria you receive an email from Racing Victoria and/or the host Club on the day of acceptances notifying you of this.

The acceptance email will contain a link to the host Club’s website which will detail information about owner attendance at their race meeting.

This will include information on how to pre-register, how the protocols will be applied and what facilities will be available on the day.

We have prepared a set of FAQs around the return of owners to race meetings to assist in answering your many questions. The FAQs can be viewed here.

We appreciate greatly that many owners also want to enjoy the experience of visiting their horse at its stables, as well as cheering it on at the track.

Given the current circumstances within Victoria, please note that the prohibition on owners and other non-essential persons attending training centres and Licensed Premises remains in place and will do so until otherwise advised.

This protocol, which includes a prohibition on owners attending trackwork, trials and jump-outs, will continue to be regularly reviewed in line with Government directives and the number of COVID-19 cases within Victoria.


As you have seen from the past week here in Victoria, the situation regarding the pandemic is a dynamic one and as a result all protocols will need to be continually reviewed to ensure their suitability.

Where protocols that apply to owners are updated, we will seek to keep you informed, including via the Racing Victoria website at

We also recommend you regularly review the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website to remain aware of Government announcements that might apply to you. Click here to view.

Finally, I want to again acknowledge our intention to provide you with an update in early July around prizemoney for the second half of 2020 including the Spring Racing Carnival.

In the meantime, I thank you for your continued support and cooperation as the industry faces an ongoing challenge to ensure the continuation of racing and training within Victoria during the pandemic.

Giles Thompson
Chief Executive
Racing Victoria