The Rotorua Racing Club believes it did sufficient to prevent the COVID-19 virus coming on the course during the sealed off race day at Arawa Park.
The 18 March meeting at the club was the first gallops racing venue to be sealed off to the public due to the COVID-19 virus. Luck was on clubs side in that it was a brilliantly sunny Rotorua day.
Chief Executive Officer Damian Radesic told The Mud that the meeting went “excellently – we couldn’t ask for anything better other than the public not being here.
“These are the precautions that have been taken by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Authority in putting in place procedures for COVID-19.”
He said that it was too early to tell what kind of impact the need to prevent the public from attending the meeting would have on the day’s takings for the club.
Damian said that about 100-to-120 people were on the course during the day – including horse trainers, jockeys, officials and essential staff.
“I think we put in place all the procedures we can to prevent COVID-19 coming on the course.”
Leading up to the race meeting, he wanted the meeting to go well because it affects so many people’s livelihoods and employment.
“The last thing you want to do is the cancel [the meeting].”
Given it was the immediate future for racing, Damian says an important aspect in ensuring the day was successful was that the club knew everybody who had to be on course.
“We had to be able to pinpoint people who were on the property.”
Gates were locked, and security staff at entry points prevented public access.
“Going forward, this is the way it is going to be until this thing passes,” he said.
Pictured above: Horses head down the back straight on their way home under the empty stand.