Lindsay Park trainers Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes got off to the perfect start following the exit to Hong Kong of David Hayes, but there are still many challenges facing the pair amid COVID-19.
With Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire in lockdown, travel between Lindsay Park’s country base at Euroa and their Flemington stable has been restricted.
Where Hayes used to travel to Euroa for Monday trackwork and Dabernig to Flemington for Friday jump-outs, the pair remain locked down in their respective areas.
The only ones allowed to travel are the horses with a Euroa-based driver making a trip to Flemington, returning with another load, without leaving the truck.
“He wears a mask and gloves and doesn’t have any contact with anyone,” Dabernig said.
“Staff here at Lindsay Park do the loading and unloading and it’s the same down at Flemington.”
However the spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria is not far from Dabernig’s mind, noting cases in country areas surrounding the Euroa training centre.
But Dabernig says the property is isolated enough and has praised the staff in both stables for their strict adherence to biosecurity measures.
“We’ve got a morning and an afternoon team here at Euroa and everyone has to take their temperature before they enter into work,” Dabernig said.
“If anyone does show symptoms of a high temp or is feeling unwell they don’t come to work, they go and get tested as a precautionary measure and we ask them to get a doctor’s certificate before they come back.
“We’re probably lucky that we are out in the open and the social distancing is quite easy to practise although the office space is a little more congested and there are some working from home.”
Dabernig and Hayes trained a winner with their first runner at Pakenham on July 10 and have added to that number since.
But Dabernig said the next few weeks would be a little quiet for the stable in preparation for early spring races.
“Hopefully if racing is going ahead as normal in August we’ll have some of our better horses starting to step out,” Dabernig.