New biosecurity measures in Vic/NSW

Caryl Williamson
Racing is set to continue in Australia under coronavirus protocols with empty grandstands

Jockeys in NSW have been segregated into three geographical areas as authorities rally to keep the sport going during the coronavirus crisis.

Race meetings continue behind closed gates with no spectators and only essential personnel on course.

Most other sports have postponed or abandoned their fixtures.

Interstate travel has been banned meaning Victorian jockeys cannot ride in Sydney while horses can cross borders under strict biosecurity protocols.

Float drivers can cross from Victoria to NSW but stable personnel are unable to travel with the horses who must then be domiciled with local trainers.

"Transport drivers are to make prior arrangements with drop off points and are not to access licensed premises when delivering horses," Racing NSW said.

"A designated NSW staff member of the horse's trainer must be on hand to take delivery of the horse being transported."

NSW has been divided into metropolitan, northern and southern regions with a pool of 25 available for the Sydney autumn carnival.

Victoria already has two pools of jockeys as a safeguard with one section allowed to ride in race only.

In NSW, the metropolitan jockeys will be permitted to ride trackwork on Tuesdays.

Victoria and NSW are Australia's two biggest racing jurisdictions and around 75,000 people are employed in the industry between the two states.

Saturday's Golden Slipper meeting was held with visiting Victorian jockeys competing after flying by charter plane but is no longer an option.

On Tuesday, Racing Victoria also strengthened its restrictions on anyone from interstate attending racecourses or training centres.

"Any licensed or registered person, essential staff or essential personnel (being those currently approved for access to race meetings and training centres) that arrives in Victoria after 6pm (AEDT) on Thursday, 26 March is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must not return to race meetings, training centres or any other licensed premises at the completion of the isolation period if they are feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms of COVID-19," RV said.

While racing continues behind closed doors in Australia, Ireland Hong Kong and Japan, it has been shut down in Britain, Dubai and New Zealand and some states in America.