Racing industry awaits call on owners and crowds for Plate and Cup

Officials at Moonee Valley and Flemington are crossing their fingers that the gradual easing in restrictions for movement around Melbourne could see at least owners getting the go ahead to attend the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup carnivals.

The Victorian government is continuing its cautious approach but Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated that some connections could be allowed on course for the climax of the spring carnival.

Racing has continued in Victoria during the pandemic, under strict protocols and with no owners or spectators allowed on the course.Credit:Arsineh Houspian

Racing Minister Martin Pakula is expected to make an announcement regarding the situation perhaps as early as the start of this week.

Moonee Valley will stage the centenary Cox Plate on Saturday afternoon and the club would dearly love to have some owners on hand, even if they are in limited numbers.

All the clubs have worked together on a submission put to the Government earlier this month arguing that the size of racecourses and the space available meant that limited numbers could safely attend and preserve social distancing requirements.

'We have made our submission regarding attendance for the 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival and we await a decision from the Victorian Government based on public health advice,'' Neil Wilson, the CEO of the Victoria Racing Club said.

''Cup Week will go on whether we are able to welcome small crowds or not.

''Whilst of course we would love to host crowds at Flemington for Australia’s greatest racing carnival, we know that most people will be watching away from the track.

"That’s why we are focussed on providing an off-course experience that ensures everyone can share in the magic and excitement of Cup Week, no matter where they may be watching.''

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