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Matt Cumani and his staff have been workshopping ideas about what may happen if racing is shut down because of coronavirus

Trainer Matt Cumani and his staff have been workshopping ideas about what may happen if racing is shut down because of coronavirus.

Apart from a lone meeting at Narromine in western NSW, racing in Australia is currently suspended with jockey Mark Zahra potentially exposed to the COVID-19 virus after travelling on a commercial flight on March 12.

Racing Victoria is awaiting the result of Zahra’s test and if it is negative, it is hoped racing can resume on Friday.

Cumani said it was a difficult task to work through given the different scenarios if racing was shut down.

“Does a racing shutdown mean a training centre shutdown also?” Cumani said.

“If we can continue training then it’s a completely different story to if we can’t train.

“And do they set a timeline on the shutdown like they did with the AFL.

“All those different things change the picture so much, so we are trying to work through the different scenarios.”

Cumani said the worst case scenario was having to put horses out for a spell which would in turn force the trainer to let staff go.

“We’re hoping at the very least we can continue to train because then the staff have a job,” he said.

“We try and take a family approach and a lot of our staff are full time which would make it a lot harder.

“If we have to lay off staff then you need an awful lot of cash for redundancy payments and that might make it prohibitive.”

Cumani also questioned whether there were enough safe spelling properties to send horses and was unsure if that system could cope, which may then lead to a horse welfare problem.

He also asked how long would it take to get racing back up and running.

“There could be a lot of horses out for a spell and when racing is ready to resume there might not be the horses to race for a couple of months,” he said.

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