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Crowds in Tasmania will immediately be allowed back on course, restricted to restaurant areas

Tasmanian trainers are eagerly awaiting the return to racing with 190 horses nominated for the first meeting back at Launceston.

And crowds will immediately be allowed back on course, restricted to restaurant areas.

Racing in Tasmania was halted in early April because of the coronavirus outbreak with its return set for Sunday.

Tasracing chief executive Paul Eriksson said 138 individual horses had been entered across the seven races while the exact number of races to be held on Sunday was still to be determined

“We’ll definitely have eight races, and we’ll make decisions about a ninth and 10th race,” Eriksson told RSN.

“The industry has been brilliant in what it has done in its support with the protocols and procedures we have had to put in place.

“The trials have gone exceptionally well and there has been a lot of horses at the trials and we are very happy and raring to go.”

Eriksson said one meeting a week was planned for the remainder of June although that could increase next month.

He said the track at Launceston will undergo a renovation following Sunday’s meeting, leaving only the newly rebuilt Elwick track in Hobart and the synthetic track in Spreyton to race on during winter.

Jockey numbers may be a little short after the state’s two leading riders, Craig Newitt and Anthony Darmanin, headed to Victoria during the shutdown.

But Eriksson says there will be enough jockeys to carry through while returning jockeys will need to isolate for 14 days before racing.

Up to 80 patrons will be allowed to see the reopening of racing on track.

“The clubs have been very innovative and they will run their areas as restaurants,” Eriksson said.

“But at this stage we need to keep separation between racing participants and those people.”

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