Thoroughbred owners are set to be welcomed back to Victorian racetracks to watch their horses compete for the first time in just over three months.
Since mid-March only essential personnel have been allowed on course in Victoria as part of the strict protocols while racing has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From next Monday, the 22nd of June, we are able to welcome owners back to the track,” Racing Victoria’s chief executive Giles Thompson told RSN927.
“This is possible due to the update of the government guidelines which specifically enables this group to go.
“That is great news, particularly because the owners have kept people in jobs right across the state with their investment over the last nearly 14 weeks during COVID and it’s just great to be able to recognise that and give them access to the track.
“It won’t be as full and rich experience as we’d like to offer and as the clubs would like to offer because there will still need to be the strict and appropriate COVID safe protocols around all of that. But this is a great first step.”
Under the current government guidelines in Victoria, Thompson said members and the general public are still not able to attend race meetings.
Swan Hill is set to host a meeting on Monday.
Thompson said a lot of the details regarding owners returning to the tracks in the state still needed to be worked through in the next few days.
“What I can say is that Swan Hill are very keen, as are many of the other clubs, to welcome owners to the track,” he said.
“The nature of that service or the facility and the number that will be able to go there will be dependant on a club-by-club basis.
“I’d be very surprised though that any owner with a runner that day, couldn’t go.
“What has to happen though is we have to make sure we don’t take any backward steps from where we have got to, bearing in mind how successful that has been.”
He said it was vital that the participants remained separated from the owners at the various racecourses.
“Each club will have to work out how they deliver that,” he said.