FROM tomorrow Victorian harness racing will re-enter a period of regionalised racing for six weeks.
Harness Racing Victoria announced the move ahead of the tightening of restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, which take effect from 11.59pm tonight.
Meetings scheduled for tomorrow and Friday (Ballarat tomorrow night, Mildura Friday, and Shepparton Friday night) will go ahead, but trainers from regions outside those tracks will not be permitted to compete and their horses scratched.
A revised July racing calendar will be issued by HRV tomorrow. Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting has been abandoned. Bendigo will now race on Saturday night.
The regions for the next six weeks will be known as Regional (consisting of Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Stawell, Terang), Melbourne and Surrounds (Cranbourne, Kilmore, Melton) and North-West (Mildura). HRV will continue to race only at the nine clubs that have been hosting race meetings since April. As per the recent regional models, participants will not be allowed to race outside of their region for the duration of the regional period.
Metropolitan races carrying $20,000 or more prizemoney will be scheduled where possible in both the Regional and Melbourne and Surrounds regions during this period of regional racing.
HRV CEO Dayle Brown said:
“We have been clear since March when we moved early to restrict attendances at our race meetings that flexibility is required during COVID-19. Our people’s health and wellbeing are always the top priorities.
“Our regional model saw us successfully and safely negotiate the period from April to July. Having that model developed and on hand has allowed us to pivot quickly following the announcements from the Premier.
“All of our stringent COVID-19 protocols will remain in place and must be adhered to. We are communicating regularly with all industry stakeholders and will continue to follow the advice of the State Government and the Chief Health Officer.
“Importantly, all decisions are being made in collaboration with the Harness Racing Advisory Council, the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association, Harness Breeders Victoria, the Victoria Harness Racing Club, Trots Clubs Victoria and other key industry stakeholders.
“The overwhelming feedback my team has received from industry participants in the last 48 hours is that they want to continue racing but also want to feel as protected as possible at the races. Our participants and staff are the people on the roads and attending the races and their views must be respected.
“I want to take this opportunity to again thank all our people for their patience and the way in which they have conducted themselves throughout this challenging time. We will emerge as a stronger and more cohesive industry at the back of this.”
HRV is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation daily. A full list of HRV protocols can be viewed by clicking here.
HRV has set up a specific industry participant welfare hotline (03) 9214 0663, which is operated from 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday.
- HRV Media