Crowds could return to the races by July

Racing NSW and the Murrumbidgee Turf Club are looking forward to welcoming crowds to their race tracks again soon.
Photo: Racing NSW.

Peter V’landys has proven time and time again to be a shrewd businessman and an operator who generally gets what he wants.

His resurrection of the NRL, while leading the Australian Rugby League Commission, is evidence to this line of thought, and he will not stop there.

The Racing NSW Chief Executive recently announced that he expected some sort of crowd to be able to attend race meetings by July 1, similar to his plan for crowds to return to the NRL.

V’landys also revealed that racehorse owners could be the first people back at the races in NSW, even before July 1, should the trend of declining Coronavirus infection rates continue in NSW and Australia.

“I have said it in the NRL that we are looking at crowds being back on July 1 and that would apply to racing as well,” V’landys said.

“We are looking at bringing crowds back to racing, to some extent, and we are working on that at the moment.

“That would start with owners and that could be even before that July 1 date.”

Murrumbidgee Turf Club CEO Steve Keene welcomed the idea of racing fans making their way back to the track and expected it would be under strict protocol.

”I dare say there would be some protocol on how we do everything, compared to how it was previously done, and we would have to wait and see what that is,” Keene said.

“We would welcome owners and members returning, we really look forward to getting people back on course and enjoying the racing.”

Keene said he was still getting used to the idea of racing occuring in front of crowdless grand stands and looked forward to the day racing fans were cheering home the winners of each event.

“It is still quite surreal and when a winning horse goes past the post and only one trainers is pumping his fist, there is not much atmosphere,” Keene said.

“We love the fact that we are still racing for the participants but we really look forward to getting an atmosphere back the races.”