By Duane Fonseca
While racing has nearly resumed full swing at almost every major destination in Australia, Tasmanian government officials have decided against an earlier start date, pushing back resumption of racing activities by a little over a month from today.
Racing officials in the state were keen for the sport to be shown an early green light, but it has been announced that all three codes of racing on the island will recommence on 13 June following a series of risk assessment studies by public health officials.
Racing in Tasmania has been suspended since 2 April due to the Covid 19 outbreak, with various interest groups later suggesting a 23 May resumption date.
Racing Australia Chairman Greg Nichols, though, disappointed, was apparently happy to find the silver lining.
“The pleasing aspect of the announcement is that it does offer an element of certainty to participants in Tasmania and encourages trainers and owners to commence planning with immediate effect,” Nichols said in a statement issued by Racing Australia.
“The disconcerting aspect is that a delay of this magnitude is likely to compromise the long-term viability of the Tasmanian racing economy and the exemplary level of equine welfare that is evident throughout Tasmania.
“Since the advent of COVID-19 related restrictions every State and Territory of Australia, with the exception of Tasmania, has continued to conduct racing with the full support of the Prime Minister, National Cabinet and State and Territory Governments and we are extremely appreciative of this support.
“We can be extremely proud of this achievement. The deployment of world-leading bio-security protocols has contributed to our success in maintaining Thoroughbred racing through this turbulent time.
“The ongoing wellbeing of all participants in Tasmania and the welfare of Thoroughbred horses throughout Tasmania remains a priority and we will continue to work closely with Tasracing to stridently advocate for the resumption of Tasmanian racing earlier than the proposed timing of 13 June 2020.”