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Victorian racing braces for border impact

Border closures could be set to hit Victorian Racing with doubts emerging about trainers' ability to run horses across different states.

And it's set to have a significant impact on the training community of Albury-Wodonga, with the border communities deeply intertwined. 

The Victorian and New South Wales border will be shut from midnight on Tuesday.

The lockdown will only be enforced on the NSW side, meaning it will be easier for horses to travel to Victoria to compete.

The closure comes following crisis talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“That closure will be enforced on the NSW side so as not to be a drain on resources that are very much focused on fighting the virus right now across our state,” Andrews said.

Stables on the border use staff from both Victoria and New South Wales and will be sweating on the NSW Government handing permits to travel to Victorian staff.

Berejiklian said the permit system may take two or three days to come into place, asking those on the border for patience. 

"If you live in Albury-Wodonga it's one community," she said.

"Once you have a permit you will be able to maintain that until the border reopens."

Key participants will hope similar arrangements will follow South Australian border closures when floats were allowed across state lines to race.

But even if authorities allow horses to travel, their ability to compete will rest with Racing Victoria and Racing NSW.

Major stables now face significant planning around staff and health processes just to be able to compete. Racing Victoria has been contacted for comment.

Current Victorian COVID-19 restrictions in racing force participants to conduct 14 days of quarantine in the state before stepping foot on a race track if they have come from interstate. 

Horses trained interstate must stay with a Victorian trainer and be sent to the state by a registered horse transport company.

Albury trainer Mitch Beer, Corowa trainer Geoff Duryea and Thurgoona's Donna Scott have all sent their horses across the border recently from New South Wales, with their horses staying in Wangaratta before heading to the races.

Speaking to Racing.com on Monday after the announcement, Beer said he was in a "state of panic" over what the border closure could mean for his stable.

Beer said the lack of clarity and communication about the extent of the border closure made it impossible to plan appropriately.

“I’m in a state of panic to be honest,” Beer admitted.

“The border shuts tomorrow night. I get my hay, my feed, everything across (from Victoria).

“I have a specific feed that I need to get … I don’t know, I don’t know if it will be allowed for those guys to truck feed over, but I get feed three times a week.

“I’ve already had to change my farrier and my vet because they were Victorian based.

“Now, whether supplies are going to be an issue … I have no idea.

“If they released something that said the borders are shut but here’s the rules for people that come across (it would be easier).
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