RV stewards' suspend Flemington stablehand for Covid-19 breach

Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards have concluded an inquiry into the failure of registered stablehand Victor Suarez Garcia to report to his employer Ballymore Stables (Mike Moroney) that he had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive to COVID-19.

Mr Suarez Garcia, who is employed as a part-time stablehand and does not attend race meetings, pleaded guilty to a charge under AR232(b) which reads as follows:

AR 232 Failure to observe processes and directions of PRAs or Stewards 

A person must not:

(b) fail or refuse to comply with an order, direction or requirement of the Stewards or an official; 

The specifics of the charge being that on Wednesday, 15 July 2020 (when he was first made aware) or as soon as possible afterwards, Mr Suarez Garcia failed to notify Ballymore Stables that he had close contact with a person who was confirmed as a COVID-19 positive case, in accordance with RV COVID-19 protocols.

Mr Suarez Garcia has been suspended from working in a racing stable for the period from Monday, 20 July 2020 (at which time he was officially stood down by RV Stewards) until midnight on Wednesday, 30 September 2020. In assessing the matter, Stewards took into account Mr Suarez Garcia’s personal circumstances, his record and guilty plea.

In accordance with Government directives, Mr Suarez Garcia undertook and completed the minimum mandatory period of isolation. He was twice tested for COVID-19 and returned a negative result on both occasions.