The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) confirms its time-honoured ANZAC Day Race Day will be conducted without spectators on Saturday 25th of April due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The ANZAC Day meeting is a beloved tradition, paying tribute to Australia’s courageous service men and women while highlighting the role racing played in the lives of those serving and the contribution of horses in war.
VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said although patrons would not be able to attend in person, the Club is grateful the Flemington tradition can continue and hoped everyone would engage with the annual meeting off-track.
“Racing at Flemington has continued for more than 180 years, through the depths of the Great Depression and both World Wars, so we are thankful our ANZAC Day meeting can continue despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Wilson said.
“First run in 1857, the VRC St Leger is four years older than the Lexus Melbourne Cup and with an honour roll including legends Phar Lap, Tulloch, Comic Court and Hydrogen, it is important the tradition continues and we can honour our service men, women and horses at Flemington.
“Sadly, we cannot welcome everyone on course but I hope VRC Members and others will be watching or listening through our dedicated broadcast partners, including Racing.com and RSN, and the VRC’s social media channels.
“We will conduct a tribute to commemorate all service men and women, past and present, whilst still strictly adhering to physical distancing restrictions, which everyone will be able to witness from home. We also hope our community will continue to give to the RSL’s ANZAC Appeal.
“And we will be distributing a digital racebook, to ensure everyone can follow the day’s proceedings.”
Mr Wilson acknowledged the significant effort everyone in the racing industry has made to ensure racing continues during these unprecedented times.
“I want to thank all VRC Members, racing industry participants, our sponsors and corporate partners and racing fans for playing your part in making sure racing can continue,” Mr Wilson said.
“Although we know you will miss not being on track to enjoy the ANZAC Day Race Day, we deeply appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to implement world-leading health, safety and bio-security measures that are crucial to the ongoing health of racing participants and our community.”
Racing Victoria, in collaboration with the entire racing industry, has implemented a number of strict measures and guidelines to ensure that racing can continue through the COVID-19 pandemic whilst minimising the risk to participants and the community. These measures balance our firm commitment to limiting the spread of the virus with our responsibility to support the 25,000 full-time jobs that Victorian racing underpins and the ongoing care of our horses.
Access to the course will be restricted to essential race day participants only, who will be temperature checked on arrival. The number of people on course will be under the government’s mandated limits for outdoor gatherings.
The ANZAC Day Race Day eight-race program features the running of the Listed VRC St. Leger (2800m), the classic staying test for three year olds which will be run for the 163rd time in 2020. Supporting this time-honoured race is the Listed ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m) for two-year-olds.
The RSL ANZAC Appeal continues in 2020. To donate and support veterans and their families during this very challenging time visit anzacappeal.com.au.
For more information on the impact of COVID-19 at Flemington please visit our information hub.