Bernard's Blog

Bernard Saundry
25 September 2020

This week’s return to covid-19 alert level one outside of the Auckland region has signaled the ability of clubs to once again host crowds.

NZTR has created a framework which allows those clubs operating under alert level 2 to host groups of 100, providing strict guidelines are followed.  This was rolled out for the first time last weekend, with the Hawke’s Bay and Ruakaka meetings both attended by limited numbers of people restricted to certain areas.

That framework will ensure that clubs who are able to meet the criteria outlined will be able to safely have people outside essential race day personnel attend.   The onus is on the club as to whether or not they chose to put the criteria in place, but it does mean that if any part of the country was to return to alert level 2 at any stage in the future, the industry is prepared.

It certainly provided another level of excitement on Saturday being able to enjoy Group One racing, including a fabulous under-card, with some of those connections to the day’s victors there on course.

While owners might have been missing on course recently, one thing which has been extremely notable while watching our racing has been the total acceptance of our industry participants when it comes to the use of masks.  NZTR would like to again extend our thanks for the professionalism exhibited when ensuring the safety of themselves and other participants.

While the return to alert level one is great news for our clubs racing outside of Auckland, the decision to hold our 2020 Horse of the Year awards as a virtual event remains in place.  The uncertainty around alert levels and when, or even whether, they might move was too great a gamble to take when it came to expecting people to book tickets, flights and accommodation to attend a physical event.

With the decision to go virtual with the event it does mean that we will be able to share the evening with a far greater audience than the 500 people who might have attended our customary night of celebration.

This year’s awards evening will be livestreamed via the LOVERACING.NZ website and our Facebook platform from 7pm on Sunday, 11 October.  We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the wonderful achievements of our human and equine stars of the 2019-20 season as the event is hosted by our MCs Kate Gourdie and George Simon.

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