The face of the Melbourne spring carnival has changed with the hugely significant news that Sydney jockeys will be able to ride at major Victorian meetings provided they adhere to new protocols.
Racing Victoria on Friday afternoon made the major move to allow interstate jockeys to ride in Victoria provided they travelled by road, preferably by themselves.
They would then be required to complete five days of isolation in Victoria and present for a COVID-19 test on the sixth day, then being allowed to ride if the COVID test returned negative.
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NSW hoops wanting to enter Victoria under this protocol must first contact Victorian stewards and provide evidence of their adherence.
It means, if all went smoothly, that a top jockey could ride in Sydney on one Saturday and then in Melbourne the following Saturday.
Hugh Bowman and other Sydney riders have been given a green light to compete at the Melbourne spring carnival under strict COVID protocols. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
It for instance opens the way, potentially, for a jockey to ride in Sydney on The Everest day on October 17 and then ride in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley a week later.
It could also open the floodgates for NSW jockeys to compete in the marquee Melbourne Cup carnival week. However, Sydney jockeys won’t be able to compete in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill on October 31 and then ride in the Melbourne Cup three days later.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are continually reviewing our biosecurity protocols based on current restrictions, case data and stakeholder feedback to determine the best framework for Victorian racing in the circumstances at hand,” Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson said.
“Whilst we continue to act with an abundance of caution to ensure the safe continuation of racing and training here in Victoria, where we are comfortable that we can mitigate risks by adapting our protocols for the overall benefit of the sport then we will do that.
Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson. Picture: Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia
“The protocol changes announced today serve to greatly assist our participants, who have been incredibly understanding and cooperative throughout the pandemic, whilst ensuring that we also continue to offer the best racing possible for fans and punters in these unique circumstances.”
Victorian Jockeys’ Association boss Matt Hyland said he was comfortable with the change.
“It’s all based on advice from the chief medical officer,” Hyland said.
“You certainly can’t allow (interstate) jockeys not to come into Victoria just because it might take opportunities away from Victorian jockeys.”
Originally published asVictorian spring shock: NSW jockeys allowed to ride
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