Crowd-free racing continues in Australia

Caryl Williamson
Racing will continue in Australia with empty grandstands for the time being

As other sports put their activities on hold, thoroughbred racing in Australia is set to continue for the time being behind closed gates and under strict protocols.

The biggest jurisdictions, NSW, Victoria and Queensland, believe they can keep going with stringent conditions surrounding people and horses.

Saturday's Golden Slipper meeting went ahead in Sydney amid biosecurity risk management in accordance with government and health authority advice.

Racing NSW said horse welfare and the wellbeing of the participants was paramount.

"There's over 50,000 people employed directly or indirectly in NSW. This includes casual staff," chief executive Peter V'landys said.

"Accordingly this equates to 27,400 full-time jobs.

"The NSW thoroughbred industry provides $3.581 billion economic activity to the state."

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said 25,000 people were employed in the state and the economic activity amounted to $3.2 billion.

The labour-intensive sport employs an array of people to care for the horses including trainers, stable staff, jockeys, breeders, vets, farriers, and float drivers on a daily basis.

Racing Queensland said there were 11,750 full-time jobs in the state's industry.

The national cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday night to discuss further biosecurity measures.

There was no thoroughbred racing scheduled in Victoria or Queensland on Monday but there were two in NSW at Goulburn and Murwillumbah.

Sydney is in the middle of its multi-million dollar autumn carnival with Saturday's Slipper meeting conducted without the usual crowd of upwards of 20,000.

There were five Group One races run and another two are scheduled for Rosehill on Saturday.

The carnival is then scheduled to move to Randwick for The Championships on consecutive Saturdays.

The annual Easter yearling sale is also still set to go ahead with much of the bidding online and only necessary personnel and invited sellers and buyers allowed at the Inglis Riverside complex adjacent to Warwick Farm Racecourse.

New Zealand announced on Monday, racing would be shut down for a month while Saturday's Dubai World Cup meeting has been abandoned.

Racing in Hong Kong and Japan has so far weathered the storm under public lock-outs.