Mortlake Dispatch
Positive test halts harness racing

HARNESS trainer Matthew Craven has admitted the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the nation has put a feeling of uncertainty within the nation’s racing industry.

The Ecklin-based trainer is continuing to operate his stable as normal as possible but is preparing to make dynamic changes as the situation constantly evolves across the country.

On Tuesday, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) suspended all of its meetings from Tuesday until today as they awaited results of medical testing performed on an industry participant who attended a meeting in Penrith last Thursday.

The participant had come into direct contact with someone outside the industry confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) immediately suspended its Bendigo meeting scheduled for later that night in response to HRNSW’s decision.

HRV then announced further meetings at Shepparton (yesterday), Melton and Ararat (today) and Maryborough and Geelong (tomorrow) have also been suspended.

The harness racing industry had already taken preventative measures to protect participants before the suspension of meetings, but the recent developments show that both state bodies could potentially be operating on borrowed time.