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Victorian horses barred from racing in NSW

Racing NSW has banned horses trained in Victoria from taking part in races in the northern state for an indefinite period.

The ban comes as Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire faces a six-week lockdown due to the spike of COVID-19 cases in Victoria.

Racing NSW chief steward Mark Van Gestel said the decision to ban horses from Victoria was immediate and also affected NSW horses returning home.

“We’ve put the protocols in place on the basis of risk assessment,” Van Gestel told RSN927.

“The transport drivers required to take those horses across the border and then parking at stables and licensed premises and racecourses … Racing NSW has seen that as a risk that under the circumstances it was not prepared to take.”

Van Gestel said Racing NSW would monitor the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, but noted as there was a six-week lockdown in place he expects the restriction on Victorian horses to remain for that period.

The training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace along with Chris Waller and Team Hawkes are stables that have large operations in both Victoria and NSW.

As Racing NSW has supervision over racing stables and racecourses, Van Gestel said the movement of horses from Victoria to stud farms in NSW was something for the government to consider.

“Studs are not under the control of Racing NSW and that would be up to the government whether they are considered essential travel between the states,” he said.

Victorian jockeys are banned from riding in NSW unless they undergo a 14-day quarantine period while from Friday jockeys from other states are able to ride in NSW without having to undergo quarantine.

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