Trainers are scrambling to engage jockeys for the Group One Stradbroke Handicap because of coronavirus restrictions on travel.
Weights for the Stradbroke Handicap were released on Monday with only five horses allotted more than 54 kgs, the usual minimum in Queensland.
But the minimum for the Stradbroke is 49.5kgs, meaning the vast majority of the Stradbroke Handicap final field on June 6 will be weighted from 51kgs to 53kgs.
Due to coronavirus restrictions it is likely only jockeys based in southern Queensland will be able to ride in the Stradbroke.
There are only a limited number of jockeys and several apprentices in the area who can ride under 54kgs.
A Racing Queensland spokesman says the current State Border Direction means a person who arrives in Queensland from another State or Territory of Australia will not be allowed to enter Queensland, unless they receive special exemption.
“Any interstate jockeys wishing to compete in feature races in Queensland should apply to Queensland Health to be exempted from the direction,” he said.
“Successful applicants will then be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period before being permitted onto a Queensland racecourse, in accordance with Racing Queensland’s strict biosecurity protocols and regionalised racing model.”
“Jockeys currently based within Queensland in either the Central and North Coast or Greater Western Regions will also be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation before being permitted to ride in the Southern region.”
South Australia recently held its carnival with only four Victorian jockeys, who had self isolated for two weeks, taking part from outside the state.
The problem facing Stradbroke Handicap trainers is securing jockeys who can ride as light as 51kgs.
Premier trainer Tony Gollan has switched jockeys for his contenders with Jim Byrne to ride Vega One (52kgs) and Mark Du Plessis onboard Outback Barbie (51kgs).
“Vega One’s usual jockey Baylee Nothdurft said he would try to get down to 53kgs but you don’t want to be overweight in a Group One,” Gollan said.
Fellow trainer Toby Edmonds said Robbie Fradd has been booked for last year’s runner-up Tyzone (52.5kgs).
“But we also have Winter Bride with 51kgs so we will have to start looking for a suitable rider,” he said.
Stuart Kendrick, who has Tambo’s Mate, is hoping regular jockey Matt McGillivray can get down to 51kgs to ride the gelding.