Clare Easter Saturday races cancelled

CLARE 2018: revellers, such as these in 2018, will not be attending the Clare Easter Races.
CLARE 2018: revellers, such as these in 2018, will not be attending the Clare Easter Races.

The Clare Easter Saturday race meeting has been abandoned by Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA) as the industry says they try to preserve racing in the state.

This cancellation comes after spectators were already barred from all racing events.

The cancellation was announced on March 26 alongside a 15 per cent reduction in overall prize money from April to the end of June.

The Oakbank Easter Carnival and races in Hawker, Streaky Bay, Roxby Downs and Quorn have all been abandoned until September, with some Oakbank races transferred to Morphettville and Murray Bridge.

Additional protocols are being introduced, including strengthened swab practices and removal of all non-essential gear.

TRSA is also considering further measures including restricting trials and splitting the jockey pool as an additional social distancing precaution.

TRSA CEO Nick Redinsaid they were considering "every available option" to keep the industry viable and racing.

"It is vital that we use every tool at our disposal for the workplaces, the race tracks, training venues, stables and farms of the 800 small business and independent contractors that make up racing and provide full and part time employment to more than 4800 people across the State," he said.

"Our aim is to keep racing going, just as it has been able to in Hong Kong and Japan during this pandemic. It is vitally important that we keep going to ensure there is not a significant equine welfare issue that will arise should all thoroughbred horse activities be stopped.

"The mental health, wellbeing and welfare of our human and equine participants must be protected, and we will keep working hard to ensure this remains a focus.

"The prize money reductions are necessary to try to ensure the industry's ongoing viability. We've discussed this measure with some of our leading trainers, and they understand that we have to do whatever is necessary to get through this."

TRSA has already limited attendance at all thoroughbred activities to essential racing personnel only and has written to industry stakeholders to urge them to abide by the restrictions.

"I know this is frustrating for people who are passionate about the racing industry but, if they truly love it, they will stay away," Nick said.

"It is absolutely critical that we continue to work as one to get through this crisis."