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RV awaiting COVID-19 jockey test result

Racing Victoria is awaiting the results of a coronavirus test on jockey Mark Zahra in the hope the suspension on racing can be lifted.

Racing was abandoned on Wednesday with only a meeting at Narromine in western NSW going ahead on Thursday.

After being contacted by health officials, Zahra alerted Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Matt Hyland on Wednesday of his potential exposure to COVID-19 after travelling on a commercial flight on March 12.

That was a day before the Australian government introduced strict biosecurity measures with RV taking those a step further and banning crowds at race meetings.

Acting on Zahra’s advice and through measures put in place by RV, contact tracing began.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said Zahra’s test would hopefully be known on Thursday and if it was negative, racing could possibly resume on Friday.

Sydney jockeys Hugh Bowman and Tommy Berry who rode against Zahra at The Valley last Friday night and caught a charter flight with him to the Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill on Saturday, have tested negative to COVID-19.

Thompson said he believed the testing procedures for COVID-19 were different in each state.

“My understanding is the current system in Victoria is that the tests go to a central testing system and therefore you have to wait for that central system,” Thompson told RSN927.

“Places like NSW, I think private labs can do them and you can get quicker results up there, but down here you have to wait.

“We’re hopeful of an answer today (but) it can’t be guaranteed.

“We are at the mercy of the system and we’re in the queue like everyone else.”

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