Amazingly, unlike the rest of the world, at the time of writing horse racing is being allowed to continue in Australia behind closed doors through the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
Whilst some Australians think this is total madness, others welcome the decision made by the National Cabinet to allow horse racing in light of its importance to the Australian economy.
It is also perhaps worth mentioning that since Australia went through the Equine Flu outbreak in 2007, almost devastating Australian racing for six months, the industry has learnt huge lessons and the protocols put in place have not just been replicated but have gone further to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus with the racing community.
Despite this Tasmania has banned horse and greyhound racing “effective immediately”, cancelling all race meetings for four weeks but allowing training facilities and people responsible for the care and wellbeing of the animals to continue operating.
In other parts of the country, New South Wales Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi has called on other states to follow Tasmania’s lead, saying it was “absolutely crazy that greyhound and horse racing is continuing in the middle of a global pandemic”.
Whilst in contrast Racing Victoria said it would continue racing after Victoria introduced tough stage-three social distancing laws this week.
However RSPCA chief scientist Bidda Jones said it was “inevitable” that horse racing would be suspended in Australia. Jones said the RSPCA did not think it was essential that horse racing be allowed to continue. But she said those whose job it is to provide basic care for horses, including feeding, grooming and exercising, should be listed as essential workers.
So as for the two big money races in the Australian racing calendar, both seem at this stage to be going ahead as scheduled with The Everest running in Sydney on 17 October 2020 and the Melbourne Cup as planned on Tuesday 3 November.
However, in this current climate it pays to watch this space!