DESPITE an easing of restrictions in regional Victoria, spectators will still not be permitted at horse racing meets across the state.
This includes Thursday’s meeting in Sale.
While the new restrictions allow for up to 300 spectators indoors and 100 indoors for events in regional Victoria, Racing Victoria announced all horse racing in the state will remain free of spectators while Melbourne is in lockdown.
Only people essential to the running of meetings, including jockeys, trainers, strappers and officials, are permitted on course.
RV chief executive Giles Thompson said following discussions with Country Racing Victoria and clubs, it was believed continuing to have no spectators at meetings until restrictions ease across all of Victoria was the most practical decision.
“When we can safely welcome spectators back to the racetrack in larger numbers with sufficient notice for clubs then we will make owners and club members the immediate priority,” he said.
THE Greenwattle Racecourse track was rated “good four” ahead of Thursday’s meeting.
The first of nine races, at 12.30pm, will be a maiden over 2246 metres.
Among the chances in race one is Handball, which finished second in his previous two starts on softer tracks, passed in the home straight when leading on both occasions. Freshened after two third placings, Diamond Dagger may benefit from the longer race.
Red Hot Nicc finished a fighting second last start at Sale and is a chance to go one better in race two, the 1113m three-year-old maiden plate.
Race three, a 1113m maiden plate for horses aged four years and over, appears an open race. Six-year-old Smug Sister placed second in her previous three starts, Cent To War came second his previous two starts, both over 1200m on the Pakenham synthetic track, while What A Sham has placed third in her previous three starts.
In the race four 1746m maiden plate, Gate Crash showed late speed to finish third on debut at Warracknabeal, while Lunchtime Red also shows promise.
Ima Dozer finished second in his previous three starts, including last month at Sale, where she will contest the race five 1746m maiden plate. Luna Too is coming off back-to-back third placings at Moe.
For race six, the Rising Stars benchmark 64 handicap over 1746m, Mariinsky and Cicero Field won on their previous start, the latter at Sale.
Seafield Road placed five at Sale last month, but won’t mind the good condition and distance for race seven, the 1429m benchmark 64 handicap. After two disappointing races, Bottom Line comes back in distance at which he won at Geelong over in June.
Citaleon won on debut in June, then finished seventh at Sandown, but will come back in class for race eight, the 1213m class one handicap, while Exceed and Excel colt Exceed Expect, in his first race since April, shows promise.
Tsugaru and Virtue will be resuming following a short break in race nine, the benchmark 58 handicap over 1113m, and will take some beating.