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Return of owners to Vic racetracks delayed

Racing Victoria has put on hold owners' return to racetracks.
Tightened social distance protocols have sunk Racing Victoria plans to allow owners to be trackside.

The return of thoroughbred owners to Victorian racetracks has been delayed.

Owners with runners engaged to race were scheduled to be allowed on course to watch their horses from Monday but Racing Victoria announced that has been deferred by at least 24 hours pending the finalisation of appropriate COVID safe protocols.

RV said the decision follows the government’s tightening of some social restrictions which came into effect at midnight on Sunday after a spike in COVID-19 cases within the state.

There had been 45 owners registered to attend Monday’s meeting at Swan Hill but RV announced late on Sunday they were no longer permitted to attend.

RV said a decision whether owners would be allowed to attend Tuesday’s Ballarat meeting will be made by Monday evening.

“This is a dynamic situation and the circumstances around COVID-19 cases and transmission are different in Victoria to other states,” RV chief executive Giles Thompson said.

“The Government made a significant announcement (on Saturday) regarding the tightening of social restrictions from midnight (Sunday) evening that requires appropriate understanding and consideration.

“We said throughout the past week that owner attendance would only be permitted once approved COVID safe protocols are in place.

“It remains our objective to provide a safe framework for owners to return to race meetings when their horse is engaged, and we are continuing to liaise with Government and our key stakeholders on realising this at the earliest opportunity.”

Owners, and other spectators, have not been permitted on Victorian tracks since mid-March.

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