HARNESS racing participants across the state will be crossing their fingers following confirmation that an employee of the Penrith Harness Racing Club has tested positive to the COVID-19 virus.
There was some small consolation when it was revealed the employee did not have any physical contact with any trainers, drivers or stablehands during last week’s Penrith meeting on Thursday, March 19.
Yet the employee had previously contact with another individual outside of harness racing, which caused an unfortunate flow-on effect, causing the industry to call off several meetings this week as a precautionary measure.
Fortunately, there was no opportunity for any contact to occur between the Penrith employee and any licensee before, during or after the race meeting.
Harness racing is this state is now in a holding pattern until the results of a COVID-19 test taken from a HRNSW steward are known.
HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny was quick to point out that officials would continue to treat this matter with the utmost priority for the well-being of participants, personnel and the wider community.
“HRNSW will provide further updates once all consequential information is known,” Dumesny said.
“If we can get meetings back up and running as soon as possible, then we will.
“But until we get further results from the steward who had limited contact with the employee, we have to take these precautions.
“The precautions are necessary as we will not risk the health of anyone involved in our industry.
“We are taking advice from NSW Health and then some, so I urge participants to be compliant with all measures recommended.
“It is also about time some in the wider community take notice, but also I must say I have deep concern for the predicament that the Penrith Club employee and his family have been placed in.”
HRNSW will continue to draw fields for upcoming meetings in readiness for an immediate return to racing when given the all-clear.