ACTIONS of a selfish individual put the entire racing industry at risk during the weekend.
Despite the avalanche of information regarding strict regulations put into place to allow harness racing to function during this Coronavirus pandemic, a person put their needs ahead of the code.
Working tirelessly to keep the industry in motion Harness Racing Victoria – and each state’s governing body – made a decision to restrict racetrack entry to key personnel.
Essentially only officials, trainers, drivers and required stablehands directly involved with a horse competing at the meeting are permitted to attend.
As such, the public, owners and other licence holders are not allowed into the venues.
Showing no regard for the rules, a person felt the need to sneak into Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night to watch ‘his’ horses.
Once inside he then attempted to make contact with numerous participants, including Trainers’ and Drivers’ Association President Lance Justice who was quick to condemn the man’s actions.
Given the pacers in question are in the person’s partner’s name he is not even the registered owner!
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Justice said. “After all the hard work that has been done to keep the industry going this person just felt he is above it all.
“I told him what I thought of it and he responded with he doesn’t believe in Coronavirus!
“People need to understand exactly what we are facing as an industry and the hard work that is being done to ensure we can keep racing and maintaining a living.”
Harness Racing Victoria General Manager of Integrity Brent Fisher confirmed the incident, echoeing Justice’s sentiments in condemning such short-sighted actions.
“It is irresponsible for someone to risk the health and wellbeing of an entire group of people by breaking the rules and ignoring our directives,” Fisher said.
“We’ve been really pleased with the response of the owners and participants since we announced attendance restrictions because they understand these measures are to protect them.
“We’ll be taking a zero tolerance approach to non-essential people attending the racetrack and this will involve fines and potential bans.
“We’ll be policing this at all race meetings to try and keep our industry safe from the spread of COVID-19.”
The individual received a $500 fine for his breach of the rules.