YARRA Valley Racing wants to be a benchmark for COVID-Safe events, in the hope of further easing of crowd restrictions.
It is expected about 400 pre-registered spectators, horse owners and club members predominantly, will be on-course at Yarra Glen on Saturday.
About 4500 attended the corresponding meeting last year.
Yarra Valley Racing chief executive Brett Shambrook has lodged applications for crowds to attend his Christmas Party Race Day (December 18) and Bye Bye 2020 (December 29) also.
It comes after the State Government on Thursday cleared the way for crowds of up to 500 people to begin trickling back to the races under strict social distancing conditions.
“We got to do everyone to do the right thing,” Shambrook said.
“The spotlight is going to be on us and Warrnambool on Sunday and obviously there’s a lot of race meetings over the next three to four weeks.
“For us for instance, December 18 is our biggest day of the year (corporate hospitality) … we don’t want to do anything to jeopardise the possibility of having that event.”
Registered attendees on Saturday will be temperature tested upon entry to the picturesque Yarra Valley circuit and restricted to allocated seating arrangements.
The running rail and all horse areas is strictly off-limits.
“We’re running a race meeting where we’re letting owners come to see their horses in the flesh but it is chalk and cheese to a normal event,” Shambrook said.
“They can’t go down to the racing zone and look at their horse, or get close to it, it’s not a normal event for us, not what we try and promote … but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Shambrook has 1600 people on a waitlist for the Christmas Race Day should crowd limits increase in time.
As racing clubs plot the trickling back of crowds, the state government announcement was a major boost for members and racehorse owners, once again able to spend a day at the races.
Owners were only allowed to be on-course immediately before and after their specific race under the previous rules.
Moonee Ponds resident Adam Boyd, a part-owner in Licciardi, a three year-old filly in the first race at Yarra Valley on Saturday, was quick to fire in his application for a ticket.
“We’re itching to get back,” Boyd said.
“The boys (other part-owners in Licciardi) are just keen to get out there and smell the horses.”
Originally published asCountry racing clubs sweat on higher cap on crowds
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