It is pleasing to write to you on the eve of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Carnival in the knowledge that we will begin welcoming some spectators back to our racetracks from tomorrow at Flemington.
We appreciate it’s been a long and tough journey for all owners who have been unable to get trackside for several months and enjoy the action to date across the Spring Racing Carnival.
I want to start off by thanking all of those within our ownership ranks who have played their role by getting fully vaccinated and thus helping bring Victoria to the important 80% double vaccination milestone.
This allows Victoria to begin opening up from this evening and with that comes the opportunity to once again welcome crowds to public events across the state in a safe and responsible manner.
The Government is allowing the resumption of fully vaccinated spectators at our race meetings under strict COVID safe event plans which include the use of zones which allow greater attendance, however, stop broad interaction and minimise those who may be impacted if the presence of a COVID positive is later reported.
As you are aware from previous correspondence, all licensed, registered and permitted participants within Victorian racing are required to be fully vaccinated by 26 November 2021 under public health directions issued by the Government for authorised workers.
That means, whilst all spectators attending race meetings must be fully vaccinated, a number of participants may only be partially vaccinated having been required to receive their first dose on or before 15 October 2021.
As a result, the Government requires that the racing operations areas on raceday be segregated from all other zones until at least 26 November 2021.
The reintroduction of the ‘racing bubble’, as it is known, means that the initial experience for owners returning to the track will be a different one to that traditionally enjoyed with access to the mounting yard and stalls not permitted.
Parallel to this, the Government announced on Sunday that restrictions around caps and density quotients will be further eased when Victoria reaches the 90% double vaccination milestone which is currently predicted for around 24 November 2021.
Thus, we hope to be able to provide further opportunities for owners on raceday from the final weekend of the 2021 Spring Racing Carnival featuring the revamped Zipping Classic at Caulfield (27 November) and the Jericho Cup (28 November) at Warrnambool.
Should you have a runner over the next month, I encourage you to keep an eye out for your acceptance email, contact the Club or check out their website, to determine whether they are welcoming spectators at the meeting and if so, how many.
Please note that there may be some country clubs that decide not to welcome spectators over the coming weeks due to timelines, logistics and the requirements needed to ensure the conduct of a COVID safe event.
Outside of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, I can advise that Mornington has been approved to welcome spectators to their Peninsula Cup meeting this Sunday, 31 October 2021, whilst attendances throughout country Victoria will resume from next Thursday, 4 November 2021 with the Sportsbet-Wangaratta meeting.
I am pleased to advise that fully vaccinated owners will be permitted to once again attend a licensed premises or training centre for stable visits, trackwork or jump-outs from Sunday, 7 November 2021.
Please note though, that attendance by fully vaccinated owners is subject to any orders imposed by individual Clubs regarding access to their facilities, particularly for trackwork and jump-outs.
All stable visits require the prior consent of the trainer, who may seek proof of your vaccination status before granting entry, and any QR codes to be scanned.
When visiting a stable from Sunday, 7 November 2021, fully vaccinated owners must wear a face mask at all times when inside any barns or dwellings and when unable to socially distance outside.
Owners are reminded that if they, or any close contact, is unwell and/or displaying any symptoms of COVID-19; and/or have been for a COVID test and are awaiting a result; and/or are required to isolate after attending a COVID exposure site, they must not attend a stable or licensed premises when permitted to do so.
We are on the eve of the biggest week on the racing calendar and it is exciting to be able to welcome spectators, including owners, back to the racetrack.
In doing so, we remain mindful that the pandemic is not over. Accordingly, we’ll be continuing to monitor the situation closely and retain our biosecurity protocols where necessary to ensure the safe continuation of racing and training in Victoria.
I want to thank all owners for their understanding and cooperation as we ease our way back to a more traditional ownership experience. We will endeavour to keep you updated on any major developments in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, I wish you the best of luck on the racetrack, particularly if you have a runner during the remainder of the Spring Racing Carnival.