Racing resumes after negative result

David Braithwaite

THE Maffra Cup went ahead on Sunday after a jockey tested negative to COVID-19.

Racing Victoria announced horse racing would resume on Friday following confirming Mark Zahra tested negative for the virus.

Racing across Victoria was suspended on Wednesday after Zahra was informed he may have been in contact with a person with coronavirus when on a commercial flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson was grateful racing could resume.

“We are acutely aware of the incredible hardship that many Australians are facing as at this time through the loss of their jobs, which is why we are continuing to work so hard to protect the livelihoods of all those within Victorian racing who depend on it,” he said.

“Victorian racing supports the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs through the employment of a vast array of people including trainers, stable staff, jockeys, breeders, vets, farriers, float drivers, administrators, officials and many more.

“At the centre of our sport is the horse and these people provide the critical care and attention that our horses require on a daily basis.

“In announcing the resumption of racing, I want to assure the Victorian community that racing will continue to operate under strict biosecurity protocols and where required act decisively, as we did when suspending racing yesterday, should there be any risk to the health of our industry stakeholders and the wider community.”

On Friday morning, Racing Victoria announced strict measures for the transporting of horses from interstate.

Part of the measures including allowing approved float companies to bring horses to Victoria, however those registered, licensed or essential personnel cannot travel with the horses.

Transport drivers must make prior arrangements with drop off points and are not to access licensed premises when delivering horses, unless approved by Racing Victoria stewards.

Meanwhile, Greyhound Racing Victoria will pursue an option to continue all its racing at Healesville, in isolation, during the COVID-19 crisis.

The idea was scrapped after negative feedback from trainers.

“GRV and all 13 Victorian race clubs remain committed to continuing with race meetings in accordance with directives from the National Cabinet, and with required public health protections in place,” a GRV statement read.

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