Racing Minister Martin Pakula told the Victoria Racing Club that owners will not be allowed to attend classes during Cup week, despite full submissions from the VRC on how it could accommodate safely up to 1000 current owners for each of the four days
The state government announced last week that up to 500 homeowners would be allowed to attend the Cox Plate Carnival in Moonee Valley, but reversed that decision within hours of community reaction.
VRC president Amanda Elliott told The Age on Tuesday that she hoped for better news for her club’s four-day carnival, which begins with Saturday’s Derby, but Pakula told the club that the connections would not be allowed
« I informed the Victoria Racing Club today that relations of horses participating in the Melbourne Cup carnival will not be allowed to attend the course, » Pakula said in a statement
« The government has determined that next week is not a good time for gatherings of this nature
« The four days at Flemington will captivate racing fans and the Melbourne Cup will, as always, bring the nation to a halt
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Pakula said the decision was more about community sentiment than safety
« I think the sentiment of the community regarding the Cox Plate was pretty clear and I don’t think it would have been particularly different when it comes to Flemington Carnival next week, » he said.
« It’s not about whether it was safe or not In a place as big as Flemington, of course there is a conceivable way to have a number of people safe in Flemington
« It has been a long road for the Melburnians, for the Victorians, but even more so for the Melburnians and the view the government came to was that it was simply not appropriate in all the circumstances to have hundreds of owners congregating in Flemington
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