Tonight I’ve spoken to the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the decision’s been reversed. Owners won’t return to the race track until we reach the next stage of the easing of restrictions. I apologise for any upset that has been caused 2/2— Martin Pakula (@MartinPakulaMP) October 20, 2020
The decision to allow some owners on course for the 100th Cox Plate was motivated only by respect for the occasion & a desire to mark a small step on the path to reopening. It was a mistake, given that other restrictions remain in place, and we’ve heard the community feedback 1/2— Martin Pakula (@MartinPakulaMP) October 20, 2020
Earlier report Tuesday - Following the announcement from the Victorian Government on the return of owners to the racetrack for the 2020 Ladbrokes Cox Plate Carnival, the Moonee Valley Raving Club has issued the following statement from Michael Browell, MVRC CEO.
“The Moonee Valley Racing Club is delighted with today’s announcement by the Victorian Government that the Club can welcome up to 500 owners at staggered intervals and under strict COVID protocols this Friday and Saturday to The Valley for the two-day Ladbrokes Cox Plate Carnival.
“We are excited to have owners enjoy watching their horses compete over the Carnival and bring some atmosphere trackside that will be captured by our host broadcasters in Channel 7 and Racing.Com. Under our COVID-safe plan, attendance times will be limited, permitted owners will remain outside and socially distanced at all times, and there will be no seated dining in line with Government regulations.
“The Club would like to thank the Victorian Government and Racing Victoria for their ongoing support in making this happen and we can assure the community that the safety of all owners and participants on course is our number one priority.
“The 100th running of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate is a significant milestone in our Club’s history and to have owners on course to enjoy the race is a great result.
“While it is disappointing that we can’t welcome our Members and the racing public this year, we look forward to putting on a great Carnival that they will enjoy from their living rooms.”
Upon final approval of the Club’s COVID-safe plan by public health officials, the Club will publish information on its website and communicate directly to owners with a runner engaged around the necessary pre-registration process, the limits on attendance per race and the protocols to be adhered to on raceday.
The Valley, picture Racing Photos
Statement from the Victorian Minister of Racing:
Connections of horses running in the Cox Plate carnival will be allowed on course under strict health and safety protocols.
After public health advice provided by Chief Health Officer, a limited number of owners will be allowed to attend Moonee Valley for Friday night’s Manikato Stakes meeting and the Saturday’s 100th edition of the Cox Plate – on top of the jockeys, trainers and support staff required for the event.
A detailed COVIDSafe Plan will be in place for the event, and will include a range of stringent measures including caps on numbers, staggered arrivals, time limits and temperature checks.
Up to 500 connections will be able to attend each of the Manikato Stakes and Cox Plate race days with a maximum of 1,250 people on course for each meeting including jockeys, club operations staff, security, COVIDSafe marshals and media.
Owners and connections will be kept distant from areas used by essential racing personnel including the mounting yard and horse stalls. Social distancing will be required and enforced.
No more than 1,000 people will be permitted on course at any one time – in normal times, the venue can host 38,000 people. Food and beverage service will be take-away only – in line with existing directions for metropolitan Melbourne.
Limits will also be placed on how long owners can attend on racedays. These limits are still to be finalised and will be reviewed and determined by public health officials.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club will provide further advice to owners, including the requirement for permitted work permits to be obtained.
Changes to directions from the Chief Health Officer that allow persons with a business need to attend race meetings mean that connections will be able to attend metropolitan tracks that have COVIDSafe Plans in place ongoing, under set conditions.
Owners were able to return to meetings in regional Victoria earlier this month under similarly strict conditions.
The Government remains in discussion with the Victoria Racing Club around arrangements for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.