Racing Victoria implements tight competition restrictions

Racing Victoria has declared a swathe of measures restricting public and professional attendance at race meetings as it aims to keep the sport continuing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Star jockeys from interstate will only be allowed to ride in Melbourne if they travel by private vehicle or charter flight. This could impact on Friday night's group 1 meeting at Moonee Valley, where Godolphin's Bivouac is expected to contest the William Reid Stakes.

Jockey Glenn Boss rides Bivouac to the win earlier this month. Credit:Getty Images

The same structure in reverse applies to Victorian jockeys who go to Sydney to ride in the rich races of The Championship, including the Golden Slipper and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Local riders – such as Damian Lane, Damien Oliver and Craig Williams, regular performers at the Sydney carnival – will only be able to ride back in Melbourne if they have if they have travelled to and from the interstate race meeting by private vehicle or charter flight.

No meetings – save for picnic meetings – will be cancelled but, until at least April 13, the only people who will be allowed on track at professional meetings will be:

  • Licensed jockeys engaged to compete at the meeting
  • Licensed trainers with runners engaged at the meeting
  • Registered stable staff of trainers with runners engaged at the meeting. Trainers are being asked to minimise the number of staff in attendance
  • Raceday officials and staff
  • Broadcasters (TRP, Racing.com, Channel Seven)
  • Limited numbers of accredited media (as approved by RV)

Track work will also be severely restricted, with only licensed trainers, registered stablehands, licensed jockeys, RV officials, club staff and essential personnel (vets, farriers, medical staff) allowed to attend track work and/or training centres within Victoria. This includes trials and jump-outs and will also continue until at least April 13.

Starting with Tuesday's Cranbourne meeting, all permitted attendees at a Victorian race meeting will be subject to temperature checks by medical staff at the entrance to the racecourse. Those displaying a temperature of 37.6 degrees Celsius or above will not be permitted to enter or compete.

Picnic meetings at Alexandra on Saturday, 21 March, Healesville on Saturday, 28 March, Mansfield on Saturday, 4 April, Balnarring on Saturday, 11 April and Swifts Creek on Sunday, 12 April, have been abandoned.

RV’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program has placed classes at RV on hold until at least the end of March with coaching to take place remotely.

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RV chief executive Giles Thompson said: "These are unprecedented circumstances that required unprecedented actions if we are to continue racing and supporting the 25,000 full-time jobs that Victorian racing underpins.

"We have two clear priorities at this time; to protect the health and well being of our industry stakeholders and indeed the wider community, and to provide an appropriate framework under which racing can continue for the many people whose livelihoods depend on it.

"In light of the declaration of a state of emergency within Victoria, we can now confirm that no crowds will be permitted at our race meetings for at least the next four weeks," he continued.

"A decision on our meetings after 13 April will be made in the coming weeks as the situation evolves, and more timely information is available from the government and health authorities."

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