It’s the news racing fans – not to mention every Victorian has been waiting for – major events are back
It’s the news racing fans – not to mention every Victorian has been waiting for – major events are back. And in even better news, fans can finally get back to the track.
Now a fully vaccinated crowd of up to 10,000 members will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup Carnival – one of the best sporting events in the world. It’s undoubtedly a significant win for racing.
Racing.com reported how the Victorian Racing Club and the state government were in the final stages of deciding just how the Carnival may look and if crowds would be welcomed back. The club was encouraged by those in government to apply for up to 15,000 people on course each day but the final 10,000 figure still exceeded the expectations of many in the racing industry.
TRC members enjoy the thrill of racing 15 horses with leading metro and country trainers across Australia without the expensive buy in or ownership commitment.
It’s clear Sunday’s announcement rewards the racing industry for its leadership during the pandemic. Racing Victoria has led the way providing first rate and often conservative bio-security measures during the pandemic with next to no disruption or race days lost. Racing Victoria were one of the first sports in the world to mandate vaccinations for its participants. The trust they have earned from the state government undoubtedly played a part in the successfully lobbying to have crowds back.
But now the hard work begins.
The Victorian Racing Club now has the significant task of delivering one of Australia’s first fully vaccinated crowd trials. It’s believed each attendee will need proof of vaccination, both when ordering tickets and at the entry gate. The club will have the task of delivering ticketing and policing such policies which will be difficult – it’s essentially a task never tackled in Australia before.
An individual’s vaccination status will need to be linked to their Services Victoria app, but that will not be linked to an individual’s membership card.
The club too faces the significant costs of organising and policing such policies. They will set up five zones on course where members will be separated. All zones will be outside, members will have their allocated seats and masks will be worn at all times. There will be strict oversight on exactly where crowds can enter and exit the course. Policing crowd behaviour, adhering to movement and mask compliance were be part of the Club’s original crowd application.
Along with our regular Saturday (and the occasional weekday) Racedays, Each year the TRC invites Members to attend exclusive tours and events hosted in conjunction with our partners Ambassador Travel, recognised as Australia’s Thoroughbred Racing Tour Specialists since 1986.
Our members are offered our tours before they go on public sale as well as special members bonuses. We also offer Wizpay to our members for easy payments.
Selecting which members can attend will be a task in itself. The club has already had more than 23,000 members renew their memberships this season – an impressive figure considering they have barely been able to attend over the past 18 months. Now some of them are set to be rewarded.
Club CEO Steve Rosich had touted to Racing.com that a ballot for members to attend each could be necessary. Racing.com was told that may now not be the case, although no further detail on the selection process has been revealed. Whether the club allows in annual guest card holders is another tough decision the club faces. The fact that members must live within 25km of the track to attend the Carnival suggests that some members wont qualify to attend.
Sponsors too will make up some of the 10,000 allowed on course considering the crucial part they play in each club’s finances. Rosich made it clear to Racing.com that the club will lose money by hosting members during the Carnival. But for a Club whose finances rely heavily on events – and with the VRC having a rich history of delivering first class race days – Cup week is a crucial step forward.
Racing.com understands that Racing Victoria will work with the Club to ensure the cost of the trial is manageable. Racing Minister Martin Pakula said on Sunday that there had been no request for Government support to cover any costs.
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Pakula, a senior member of the state government, was undoubtedly crucial to Sunday’s announcement. He has been important to ensuring racing continued during the pandemic and admitted on Racing.com recently there were some who had their doubts the sport should play on. He has also been pushing to ensure the sport was at the front of the queue to host crowds when the state reopened.
Sunday’s announcement is exciting news for racing. Warnnambool Racing Club too will trial a meeting with a fully vaccinated crowd on October 14. The sport is perfectly placed to deliver a series of COVID-safe major events and undoubtedly deserves the opportunity to do so.