Victorian racehorse owners allowed back on track under strict protocols

Owners will be welcomed back to all Victorian race tracks from Saturday under COVID-safe protocols.

Attendance will be capped at 30 owners per race and managed on a track-by-track basis, subject to COVID-safe readiness.

Restaurants at racecourses will be allowed to cater to the owners, consistent with the restrictions on Victorian hospitality venues.

Despite the scaling back of restrictions, owners must continue to be segregated on race day from trainers and jockeys, including the mounting yard and stabling area.

Owners with horses engaged at this weekend’s race meetings at Sandown (Saturday), Dunkeld (Saturday), Geelong (Sunday) and Donald (Sunday) were notified on Thursday night about the registration process.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson welcomed the change.

“Owners are essential to our sport,” he said.

“They fund the training, care and welfare of our horses and have kept people in jobs right across Victoria with their ongoing commitment to racing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the easing of travel restrictions between regional and metropolitan Victoria and the significant reduction in COVID-19 cases, we are delighted to announce a framework, with the support of the Victorian Government, that allows us to welcome limited owners back to all race meetings from Saturday onwards.”

Discussions remain ongoing with the Victorian Government to broaden attendance at race meetings to include spectators when it is safe to do so, with the primary focus on feature events.

Owner attendance at Victorian race meetings, including the resumption at nine tracks in the metropolitan Melbourne region, will be underpinned by the following essential protocols:

* Permitted arrival times will be managed on a track-by-track basis subject to each Club’s facilities and their COVIDSafe Plan;

* Those with a role in running the business may attend including for ownership, sponsorship or governance purposes (not as spectators). Once duties are complete (i.e. inspecting the owned horse after the race or following the trophy presentation for sponsors) they should leave the racecourse;

* A maximum of 30 owners per race with pre-registration required and compulsory provision of details on and/or before the day to enable contact tracing. In satisfying other protocols, Clubs may not be able to welcome the maximum number of owners for each race;

* Restaurants at racecourses can open to service owners that are permitted to attend, consistent with the restrictions on hospitality venues in Victoria; and

* The strict protocols requiring the segregation of owners from racing participants, meaning that restrictions on owner access to racing operations areas, including the mounting yard and stabling area, will continue to be enforced and no crossover will be permitted between the two sections of the racecourse.

Originally published asRV puts out welcome (back) mat for owners

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