The footy is gone.
Motor racing’s engines have been turned off, PGA golf clubs have been laid down, soccer has been silenced.
The Casinos are cactus, the poker machines aren’t poking, and the scratchy selling Newsagents have drawn down the blinds.
All that is left to bet on is he online lotto and the three codes of racing.
Let the peasants pick 6 from 45 and a Powerball.
The only thing that really matters anymore is racing.
The pommies have done what Poms do and retreated to the bunkers. The French have laid down. No-one is surprised. The Irish are isolated, the Scots have fled to the highlands, the Welsh are bunkered down under the coal, and the Kiwis have said Kio Ora and goodbye.
Poor grade horses are still running around in front of no-one in Hong Kong and Singapore, but no-one outside of those little islands cares.
Australian racing is all that is left.
We can turn rocks into diamonds if we can just keep racing.
For once in in a hundred years Racing Victoria has come up with the right idea, and has implemented it. They’ve isolated the 25 jockeys needed to keep TAB meetings going in the the face of the plague.
It may not be original – the 25 is based on the number of jockeys riding in Hong Kong – but it’s a stroke of genius.
COVID-19 can’t be passed to humans through horses, so as long as those jocks stay fit and well and don’t go near anyone who might infect them, racing can go on, provided that enough trainers and support staff can stay healthy to keep horses fit and prepared and get them to and from the track.
As much as it might hurt people like Peter V’Landys to admit and accept it, every other racing jurisdiction in the nation needs to follow Racing Victoria’s lead, and follow it right now. If they don’t, and their riders get sick, their industry is shot.
Forget the Everest, the Golden Eagle, the Kozzie and all that schlock: if NSW racing fiddles while Rome burns and its CEO is distracted doing his NRL job instead of doing his racing one, they are going to get caught and closed down. Queensland will too. Only the strong and the smart will survive.
Victoria and West Australia.
They will get all the product fees, and become richer than Croesus.
The Governments in the other states will still spin in the Point of Consumption tax revenue skimmed from bets their citizens make in the still racing states, but in a time of recession if not depression, when every sector of the public state needs dollars, what’s the chances of it being spun back into rebuilding racing industries that stood like startled rabbits in the headlights and did nothing?
Zero, that’s what.
Queensland needs to move, and move super quick, and the answer is real simple.
The facilities required for self-isolation of the critical players required to continue to race are already in place.
The stables at Eagle Farm are built on the infield.
The Ascot Green tower looms large over the track and is only 2/3rd’s occupied.
Hotels and motels in the immediate vicinity lie vacant and dormant.
There is a supermarket just over the back straight fence, and the feed merchants are just down the road.
It’s time for a mass mobilisation of the required healthy racing participants onto the track and its surrounds. Jockeys, trainers, strappers, stewards, starters, work riders, vets, judges, barrier attendants, the lot.
Test them for the virus, and if they clean move those prepared to make the personal sacrifice required to save racing into these facilities, and keep them isolated there any time they are not down at the track doing their work.
Have doctors, nurses and a mobile lab on course, and test them every morning and if necessary every night. Whatever it takes to keep things going, that’s all that matters. Those who can’t, or won’t, or aren’t required miss out. It’s hard and its not fair, but that’s life, and if we can keep things afloat they can be compensated for their loss.
It can work at the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba too, although under different circumstances and restraints. They can be worked out, but Brisbane takes first priority. Get it sorted it immediately and work the others out after. We need to continue to race.
The dogs and trots don’t have the same on-site facilities in place, so it’s likely they are screwed. They can keep racing for now, but the minute an infection hits either of the industries they are gone, and there is not much that anyone can do about it.
Nothing else matters anymore, not for now at least.
We have to keep gallops racing going.
Racing Queensland need to move quick.
Go you good things, go!
Pull the whip and go right now.