Bernard's Briefing - 10 April
Next Thursday 16 April RITA will release the dates for the proposed return to racing for the remainder of this racing season.
What this means for the thoroughbred code is that the month of July is our targeted return with the proposed racing schedule subject to funding.
On Friday 17 April, the codes will each release the proposed dates for the first four months of the new season (for thoroughbred this means August-early November). This will be subject to the development of a full season draft calendar, which will be released in mid-May. This calendar is also subject to funding and we are awaiting feedback from RITA regarding the 2020/21 season, as well as the proposed July dates.
Getting to this stage has involved a great deal of collaboration between the codes and RITA. In addition to working together to draft these new dates, there has also been significant effort put into developing the protocols which will allow us to return to training and racing.
The industry had already put in place many of these prior to our final weekend of racing, where meetings were conducted behind closed doors. The group which has formalised the protocols has also taken on board some of those steps implemented in NSW and Victoria which have allowed racing to continue.
With the Prime Minister signalling 20 April as the date when a call will be made on the next steps we take as a country, racing is well positioned with protocols developed to allow racing and training to take place under a lower alert level.
Once the relevant government departments have signed off on the protocols they will be released to the wider industry for implementation.
In addition to these the NZ Farriers’ Association has also released its protocols which are available here. The NZTBA has a good link with advice regarding the transport of horses during the alert level 4 which can be found here. As you will note common sense is a major requirement and two weeks into lockdown we should all be understanding the necessity behind staying at home and remaining in our bubble.
As we have seen as we have watched racing continue across the Tasman, it is possible to keep the industry going if we all adhere to the expected guidelines. The expectation is that all our licence holders will make themselves familiar with the regulations as they pertain to them once they are released.
In the meantime, please continue to stay safe in your bubble.