As the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne heats up, regular announcements are being made by individual racing venues in light of the latest restrictions in the state.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the Australian Horse Racing Committee has struggled to keep the events of the Australian Spring Racing Carnival alive. Though restrictions have prevented some internationally owned thoroughbreds from competing over the last 12 months, the horse racing community has managed to continue, holding on as best it can to make it through the 2021 season.
Spectator attendance restrictions at the races
The decision was made in early July that this year’s Spring Racing Carnival, with races set to be held in both Melbourne and Sydney, was set to continue as planned albeit with significant restrictions in attendance numbers. As has occurred with several other Australian sporting events throughout 2020 and 2021, spectators turned to their televisions and sporting channels to follow the sports that they loved and this is a tradition to be continued throughout this year’s Spring Racing Carnival in Australia.
Flemington Racecourse released a statement on September 2, explaining the restrictions. “In light of the ongoing outbreak and extension of restrictions in Melbourne, we are now adjusting our Carnival plans to cater for a reduced crowd”. This includes major events such as Victoria Derby Day, Melbourne Cup and the Mackinnon Stakes. Though these events are set to continue, racegoers will be getting their Cantala Stakes tips for this year's Victoria Derby Day in a more remote way than usual.
Cancellation of events surrounding the Spring Racing Carnival
Many events surrounding the Carnival have been cancelled in light of the current situation in Victoria. Oaks Day Fashions on the Field has been a long-standing tradition associated with the Carnival for many years. In 2020, major Australian fashion retailer Myer adapted this long-coveted competition and transformed it into the lockdown-friendly Fashions on your Front Lawn where Australian fashionistas could still compete in the style competitions usually held in person at Oaks Day from their very own homes. This new tradition will carry on during the 2021 Spring Racing Carnival and is already gathering momentum in Australian fashion circles.
The Sofitel Girls Day out which was set to be hosted at Flemington Racecourse on September 11 was also cancelled this year in light of the situation. Like many individual race tracks, the Flemington Racecourse, together with the Victorian Racing Club, has been working closely with state governments to ensure that any event attendees are strictly following protocols if the events are allowed to continue at all.
Continuing updates on the possibility of event attendance
In October 2020, Racing Victoria announced that owners living outside of metropolitan Melbourne would be allowed to attend race meets in regional Victorian locations which sparked some hope in the allowance of small crowds to attend the major races for 2021. The recent proposal from the Victoria Racing Club to the Victorian Government included the allowance of 10-15,000 owners, sponsors and some members to attend the four major race days in metropolitan Melbourne, which is still under review.
As the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne heats up, regular announcements are being made by individual racing venues in light of the latest restrictions in the state. Those hoping to be able to attend the races in 2021 will need to keep a close eye on the situation as it progresses and it is advised that contacting the racecourse directly may be the best way to gather the most up to date information on allowances for attendees.