Racing NSW has abandoned any plans to race at city tracks other than Randwick with next month’s Missile Stakes moved away from Rosehill as a result of Sydney’s ongoing Covid outbreak.
Race meetings will no longer be able to go ahead in local government areas that are in lockdown with Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury all based in parts of Sydney under stay-at-home orders.
It will force the Group 2 Missile Stakes meeting on August 7, which also features the Listed Rosebud, to be moved to Randwick while several midweek metropolitan meetings will also be shifted to the Kensington course or provincial tracks like Kembla Grange.
The Missile Stakes is the only Saturday meeting over the next four weeks set down for Rosehill with the bulk of Sydney’s feature races including the Group 1 Winx Stakes on August 21 staged at Randwick.
“We will be able to make some changes to keep that meeting in the metropolitan area,” Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel announced on Sky Racing Radio on Thursday morning.
“Probably the more difficult thing logically is the midweek meetings as to where we reprogram them but the Kensington track has been racing pretty good lately so it can take some of the load.
“Only having one meeting at Rosehill has certainly made it not as challenging to keep those meetings going.”
If the lockdown was to stretch beyond the additional four weeks announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday then further Rosehill meetings would also come under threat.
The lockdown is are also expected to cause staffing issues at race meetings.
With several of Sydney biggest yards based at tracks in lockdown, it is expected a substantial amount of stable staff would also be unable to move beyond their local areas.
Support from stables outside of those regions will help fill the void.
“The trainers at Warwick Farm and Rosehill who are impacted by these LGA lockdowns and may have some difficulties arranging staff on racedays so Racing NSW is putting together a pool of strappers that will be available,” Van Gestel said.
“Anyone who is having difficulty getting a strapper they should give us a call.”
Racing NSW announced on Wednesday evening that Friday’s Rosehill barrier trials would be restricted to horses that are trained at the track with a new set of nominations announced on Thursday.
The governing body is expected to announce a full list of changes on Thursday.
Originally published asMissile Stakes moved due to Covid lockdown
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