Owners back on tracks

UPDATED:

HORSE owners were allowed to return to Victorian race meetings on Tuesday under strict COVID safe protocols.

Owners were to return for Monday’s meeting at Swan Hill, but the announcement of stricter statewide restrictions saw Racing Victoria defer that.

Officials on Monday decided to allow owners to attend Tuesday’s meeting at Ballarat.

Arrival times are being managed subject to club facilities and plans. Owners will be required to depart the course following the race in which their final runner is engaged to compete in.

There will be a maximum of 30 owners per race with pre-registration required.

Owners will be managed by clubs in accordance with Victoria’s social gathering guidelines with adherence to all social distancing directives and density requirements.

ORIGINAL STORY:

RACING Victoria has announced that the return of owners to Victorian race meetings will be deferred by at least 24 hours pending the finalisation of COVID-19 safety protocols.

RV announced last week it would grant permission to horse owners to attend meetings from today.

But the state government’s announcement that social restrictions would be tightened after a spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria, has resulted in permission being withdrawn for 45 owners to attend today’s Swan Hill meeting.

A decision on whether an additional 45 owners can attend tomorrow’s Ballarat event, as well as other meetings, will be made tonight.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson on Sunday said the situation surrounding the virus was dynamic, with the circumstances around COVID-19 cases and transmission different in Victoria to other states.

“The government made a significant announcement yesterday regarding the tightening of social restrictions from midnight this evening that requires appropriate understanding and consideration,” he said.

“We said throughout the past week that owner attendance would only be permitted once approved COVID safe protocols are in place.

“It remains our objective to provide a safe framework for owners to return to race meetings when their horse is engaged, and we are continuing to liaise with government and our key stakeholders on realising this at the earliest opportunity.”

RV announced last week its plan to email all owners yesterday with an overview of the processes and protocols in place for the resumption of owner attendance. This communication may be delayed by up to 48 hours.

The next meeting in Sale isn’t until July 9.