By Colin MacGillivray
KILMORE Racing Club still hopes to host its annual pacing cup later this year despite the reintroduction of regional restrictions by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV).
HRV last week announced it would return to a system of three regionalised racing bubbles in response to the State Government’s lockdown of greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
As during the previous Victoria-wide lockdown, Kilmore will be grouped with tracks at Cranbourne and Melton to form a group of trainers and horses encompassing Melbourne and surrounds.
About 300 horses in the region will be eligible to race at the three tracks.
A revised HRV schedule for July will see Kilmore host races tonight (July 14) and on Monday, July 27.
Kilmore Racing Club chief executive Ben Murphy said the club was supportive of HRV’s measures and believed it could still host its annual Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup later in the year.
“We’re hopeful that we can run that later in the spring,” he said.
“We’ll work with the industry to make sure we’re able to do that in the best way that we can.”
Mr Murphy said he was pleased harness racing was able to proceed under the new conditions.
“We’re really supportive of the work of [HRV chief executive] Dayle Brown and the industry’s position on this,” he said.
“We think it’s important that they’ve done something like this. For us it is a slight change to our schedule, but we’re really supportive of what the industry requires us to do.
“We need the sport to go from a horse wellbeing perspective and the viability of the industry.
“It’s been really pleasing to see the whole industry band together to make sure we keep going.
“We’re all in this together, as they’re saying.”