International competitors require exemptions

Racing Australia is working with the Australian Government to get travel exemptions for international trainers and stablehands ahead of the Victoria Spring Carnival and The Everest in Sydney.

The national body is working on behalf of Racing Victoria and Racing NSW who are bidding to have international horses participating in the Cox Plate, the Melbourne Cup and The Everest this spring.

However RV chairman Brian Kruger said an exemption was looking less likely after Victoria was placed in a State of Disaster on Sunday.

Kruger said the Werribee quarantine facility would open for a shipment of 16 horses on one-way tickets, but there was a question mark over two-way travel.

He said interest from international stables remains high for the Victoria Spring Carnival.

“There is the potential for 10 or 12 horses to come to Victoria, but we need that Federal Government exemption for that to happen,” Kruger told RSN927.

“The primary objective for us with this is managing the COVID risk and not putting racing in Victoria at any additional risk because we have international visitors.

“If they are allowed to come it will be done in a way Racing Victoria are comfortable that it doesn’t introduce any additional risk for our people or the broader community.”

Kruger said travel exemptions would be required in four or five weeks time to allow international stables to finalise their plans.

He said RV would continue to monitor daily State Government announcements and what impact they may have.

Flemington, picture Racing Photos

While racing has been given the green light to continue, all crowds have been banned for the foreseeable future.

“I know the race clubs will be planning for different eventualities from no attendees to a small number of attendees,” Kruger said.

“I would love to see people at the track, but the likelihood is getting lower everyday.”

With a lack of on course crowd numbers having an impact on revenue for race clubs, Kruger said RV’s revenue had held up better than expected.
RV was expecting revenue to drop, however turnover has increased in the last financial year.

Kruger explained free-to-air television coverage had been instrumental while also noting racing was the only “live sport” through a major portion of the initial COVID shutdown.

“Turnover is up on last year but revenue will be about the same,” Kruger said.

“While our race field fees are up significantly (from wagering operators), revenues from the joint venture with Tabcorp, with things like retail being closed, pari-mutuel not being as strong as it was and also the fact we haven’t got the income from wagering on other sports, the revenue from the joint venture is down.

“Those two things are offset, but it’s still a very strong outcome for the industry for the year to June.”