The Victorian Government has reversed a decision to allow up to 1250 people to attend the Moonee Valley racecourse this weekend for the 100th anniversary of the Cox Plate hours after announcing it.
Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced the backflip last night after swift condemnation of the special allowance at a time when many are still under strict social distancing restrictions, including for people watching the AFL grand final from home.
The plan, announced earlier in the evening, was to allow up to 500 connections on top of jockeys, trainers, and support staff to Friday night’s Manikato Stakes meeting and Saturday’s 100th edition of the Cox Plate.
“The decision to allow some owners on course for the 100th Cox Plate was motivated only by respect for the occasion & a desire to mark a small step on the path to reopening. It was a mistake, given that other restrictions remain in place, and we’ve heard the community feedback,” Mr Pakula said on Twitter.
“Tonight I’ve spoken to the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the decision’s been reversed. Owners won’t return to the race track until we reach the next stage of the easing of restrictions.
“I apologise for any upset that has been caused.”