RV targets date for return of race crowds

By: Craig Brennan Thursday 28 May 2020

Racing Victoria is working towards allowing racehorse owners and some race club members to be back on course in July.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said June 22 was a key date as the Victorian state government announces any changes on further relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.

Victorian racetracks have been crowd-free since the Alister Clark Stakes meeting at The Valley on March 13.

Thompson said RV had a working group that was looking at ways to get owners and race club members back on course.

He said the group was working through what the impact would be from the state government announcement on June 22 and what further impact there would be in July.

"Our aim is to get people back to courses as soon as we can," Thompson told RSN.

"July is a possibility, there's no doubt about that.

"The core part of that whole process is we've got to where we are today cause of the strict protocols we have around the racing operation on the track.

"Anything we do from a crowd perspective has to protect that.

"Let's not forget how important it's been for everyone in racing that we've kept racing and that's not by accident, it's because the participants have abided by such strict protocols on and off the track.

"We cannot put at risk those protocols, so it's really important to work with the clubs as we get people coming back to the course who are not necessarily essential to racing day in and day out that there is separation between those groups."

Racing NSW has also expressed an intention to have crowds back on-course from July 1.

Thompson said that was not in any way influencing RV's ambition to see crowds return.