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SA racing industry introduces further COVID-19 measures
- Oakbank Easter Carnival and Clare Easter Saturday meetings abandoned
- More races moved to metro and provincial tracks to further enhance controls
- 15% reduction in overall prizemoney from 1 April to 30 June
- Additional protocols implemented, more being considered
The Board of Thoroughbred Racing SA has ratified a series of additional steps to provide the safest possible environment for racing participants and to try to ensure the industry’s ongoing financial viability during the current volatile environment.
The detail of these measures is as follows:
- All jumps races scheduled for April have been cancelled due to the unavailability of riders as a result of quarantine rules and restrictions on travel. This means the Oakbank Easter Carnival, which was to have been run with no spectators, has now been abandoned with races cancelled or transferred:
- The Sunday prelude meeting scheduled for April 5th has been cancelled;
- The Oakbank Easter Saturday (April 11th) flat races program has been transferred to Morphettville; and
- The midweek event planned for Wednesday April 8th will now be run at Murray Bridge.
- The Easter Saturday meeting at Clare has been abandoned, and the Port Augusta meeting scheduled for Sunday April 19th has been transferred to Gawler.
- All non-TAB race meetings have been abandoned until September 1st affecting meetings scheduled at Hawker, Streaky Bay, Roxby Downs and Quorn.
- Additional protocols are being introduced, including strengthened swab practices and removal of all non-essential gear. TRSA is also considering further measures including restricting trials and splitting the jockey pool as an additional social distancing precaution.
In addition, TRSA has announced a reduction in prizemoney levels from 1 April until 30 June 2020.
This includes reducing all lead up races to the Adelaide Autumn Carnival to benchmark levels, reducing all Black Type races across the carnival to benchmark levels as well as a 10% cut to all general races. These initiatives equate to an average reduction of 15% overall.
CEO Nick Redin said TRSA was considering “every available option” to keep the industry viable and racing.
“It is vital that we use every tool at our disposal for the work places, the race tracks, training venues, stables and farms of the 800 small business and independent contractors that make up racing and provide full and part time employment to more than 4800 people across the State,” he said.
“Our aim is to keep racing going, just as it has been able to in Hong Kong and Japan during this pandemic. It is vitally important that we keep going to ensure there is not a significant equine welfare issue that will arise should all thoroughbred horse activities be stopped.
“The mental health, wellbeing and welfare of our human and equine participants must be protected, and we will keep working hard to ensure this remains a focus.
“The prizemoney reductions are necessary to try to ensure the industry’s ongoing viability. We’ve discussed this measure with some of our leading trainers, and they understand that we have to do whatever is necessary to get through this.”
TRSA has already limited attendance at all thoroughbred activities to essential racing personnel only and has written to industry stakeholders to urge them to abide by the restrictions.
“I know this is frustrating for people who are passionate about the racing industry but, if they truly love it, they will stay away,” Nick said.
“It is absolutely critical that we continue to work as one to get through this crisis.”
Race fans are encouraged to watch races live on free to air TV on Racing.com channel 78 and on and Sky, and they can also view all trials and club jump outs on the Thoroughbred Racing SA website.