March 27, 2020
South Burnett race clubs will be taking an enforced break over the next two months – and possibly longer – due to COVID-19.
On Thursday, Racing Queensland (RQ) announced that it was introducing a new plan to quarantine Queensland’s racing industry from the pandemic.
The plan, which will begin on Sunday, will see Queensland split into five thoroughbred regions and four greyhound regions.
“Thoroughbred racing will be consolidated to 15 racetracks and jockeys will be permitted to race in one of the five designated regions,” RQ said.
“Trainers and stable staff will be further restricted to one of eight zones (eg: Darling Downs or South-East, but not both).
“During this period, horses or greyhounds will not be permitted to be transferred between zones for the purpose of racing.
“Furthermore, any horse or greyhound that is presently domiciled interstate and does not enter Queensland by 11:59pm on Sunday, March 29, will not be allocated a region and will no longer be able to race until further notice.”
RQ said horses or greyhounds will be permitted to be transferred across regions for non-racing purposes, such as agistment or re-homing.
The five thoroughbred regions are:
- Metro North (Brisbane and Sunshine Coast)
- Metro South West (Gold Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba)
- Darling Downs and SEQ Coast (which includes the South Burnett)
- Central West and Central, and
- North West and North
“The health and safety of our participants, who are presently confronting a challenge like no other is our paramount concern,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“These are unprecedented times and they call for unprecedented measures.
“We must do everything within our powers to provide for the 40,000 Queenslanders who participate across the state – these are their livelihoods that are at stake.”
Given the imminent introduction of regionalised racing, RQ will also abandon the upcoming winter carnivals for thoroughbreds, greyhounds and harness participants.”
The carnivals will be replaced with standard metropolitan race programming with selected feature races.
On Friday, Nanango Race Club president Andrew Green said he had been told the South Burnett would be included in a new “SEQ Coast” zone, which will have thoroughbred race meetings held at Bundaberg every second Sunday until further notice.
“While our club and all other local race clubs are naturally disappointed there will be no race meetings held in the South Burnett until this crisis is over, we support Racing Queensland’s new plan.
“RQ’s main aim is to keep Queensland’s racing industry alive during the pandemic, and most people I’ve spoken to agree this is probably the best way to do it.”
Nanango had planned to hold a “patron-free” race meeting on Easter Saturday, April 11, but that meeting has now been cancelled.
South Burnett Race Club’s Anzac Day meeting at Wondai and the annual Burrandowan Picnic Races at Burrandowan had already been cancelled.
- Related article: Nanango Races To Be ‘Patron-Free’