COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Important Information
Update from BRC Chairman Neville Bell - Saturday, 11 April 2020
Dear Members and Patrons,
It seems that every time we have written to you in recent weeks, it’s been to inform you of more bad news for the racing industry as we all deal with the COVID-19 response.
Finally, we can share some positive news after a decision to reinstate some black-type racing for this winter, ensuring we can run the TAB Stradbroke Handicap among other races.
When we last wrote to you, Racing Queensland had cancelled the Brisbane Racing Carnival when it implemented strict biosecurity measures that prevented the movement of horses between new racing zones.
Racing Queensland has now lifted the restrictions on those horse movements, enabling some black-type racing to resume. The restrictions on the movement of people between those zones remain while all race meetings will continue without patrons.
Racing Queensland has released a program of feature races for the next two months, which includes five meetings at the BRC with the following schedule:
Saturday May 9, Doomben
• Group 3 $125,000 BRC Sprint (1200m)
• Listed $85,000 Daybreak Lover (1600m, 3YOs)
Saturday May 23, Eagle Farm
• Group 2 $175,000 Victory Stakes (1200m)
• Group 2 $175,000 Champagne Classic (1200m, 2YOs)
• Group 3 $115,000 Gunsynd (1800m, 3YOs)
Saturday May 30, Doomben
• Group 3 $125,000 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m)
• Group 3 $125,000 Fred Best Classic (1350m, 3YOs)
• Listed $125,000 Helen Coughlan Stakes (1350m, Fillies & Mares)
• Listed $115,000 Pam O’Neill Stakes (1600m, 3YO Fillies)
• Listed $115,000 Hinkler Handicap (1110m)
• Listed $85,000 Bill Carter Stakes ($85,000, 2YO Fillies)
Saturday June 6, Eagle Farm
• Group 1 $350,000 TAB Stradbroke (1400m)
• Group 1 $350,000 JJ Atkins (1400m, 2YOs)
• Group 3 $175,000 Rough Habit Plate (2200m, 3YOs)
• Listed $85,000 Mick Dittman (1000m, 3YO)
Saturday June 13, Eagle Farm
• Group 2 $175,000 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m, F&M)
• Group 2 $175,000 The Roses (1800m, 3YO Fillies)
• Group 3 $175,000 Tattersall’s Cup (2400m)
• Group 3 $125,000 Eagle Farm Mile. (1600m)
• Listed $85,000 Ascot Handicap (1200m)
• Listed $85,000 Dalrello Stakes (1200m, 2YOs)
The full schedule of races can be found at this link.
Unfortunately, this means that we won’t have the likes of the Doomben 10,000, Kingsford Smith Cup, Queensland Derby or Queensland Oaks in 2020. We also won’t have the inaugural running of the EVA Air Q22, which had been an exciting prospect for the Carnival. However, the BRC accepts that these matters are out of our control. We also acknowledge that other clubs have lost races that are dear to them. We will host the Tattersall’s Cup on June 13 which has been run so well by the Tattersall’s Racing Club for many years – we look forward to that race returning to Tattersall’s in 2021. While all clubs were desperate for these races to continue this winter, we understand that the extraordinary circumstances of these times means that those races will not be held.
This programming has only been made possible by the success of club raceday staff and QRIC. We have worked together to ensure that the strict biosecurity measures have been maintained at all times. This enables racing to continue at this time while other sports are unable to proceed. We remain grateful for this however we are mindful that many stakeholders within the industry have been impacted by these difficult times.
While patrons will be unable to enjoy our upcoming feature races, we hope that you can watch on television and enjoy the fact that races like the Stradbroke and JJ Atkins – such important launching pads for Australia’s best horses – will be held in 2020. The Brisbane Racing Club, in all of its forms for more than a century, has never missed a winter for feature racing. Even during World War I, the Spanish Influenza outbreak and World War II, we were able to race. Interestingly for some time during WWII, the Doomben 10,000 continued but the Stradbroke was not held. We have the reverse this year but we look forward to our racing returning to normal as soon as health authorities decide it is safe.
We continue to send our wishes to all in the wider BRC family who are feeling the effects of COVID-19. We have you in our thoughts and we look forward to seeing everyone back at the track as soon as conditions are safe.
Neville Bell OAM
Brisbane Racing Club
Update from BRC Chairman Neville Bell - Wednesday, 1 April 2020
Dear Members and Patrons,
I would like to update you on the measures your Club is taking to protect the health of our community and to ensure the viability of racing and the BRC during this challenging time.
It has been over two weeks since we started racing without patrons. We are grateful that we can continue to race and that we can help to keep the industry moving by adhering to strict health and safety measures. We all share a passion for racing and we know there is nothing better than the live experience particularly during our Carnival days. However, I hope you can take some comfort knowing that your Club is playing a critical role in keeping racing going so Australians can still place a bet on Brisbane racing.
Please be aware that the Club is now operating on minimal staff. Sadly, this week we had to stand down over 40 full-time and part-time staff across departments including operations, marketing, finance and sales. Hundreds of loyal casual staff had already been told that we did not have shifts for them. These were necessary financial measures but difficult due to the great respect that we have for our wonderful staff members. We explained that while race meetings were continuing, we were unable to generate revenue. The financial model within Queensland racing has been found wanting during this crisis because Clubs must keep racing without any raceday income and no direct revenue from wagering. While Clubs receive a subsidy from Racing Queensland for racing costs, the subsidy is only a fraction of the actual costs of operating and maintaining the racecourses, particularly for metropolitan racing.
Race Clubs in other states that receive some direct wagering revenue have the option of cutting prizemoney. The BRC does not have this option. We are advised by Racing Queensland that a Clubs compensation programme will soon be announced.
Fortunately, the BRC’s property Master Plan and diversification strategy started five years ago continues to cover our debt commitment. Along with our media rights income, the BRC can meet commitments including racing operations, venue maintenance and debt repayments. As we have previously announced, the cancellation of the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival will incur a loss of about $3 million. The cancellation of the Carnival means Members cannot enjoy our best time of the year. We appreciate your support and will acknowledge this support before we reopen.
As well as responsibly managing finances during this crisis, BRC staff are going to extraordinary lengths to protect against a COVID-19 case shutting down racing. Following are some examples of initiatives in place:
• Eagle Farm racecourse and infield stables precinct have been locked down and trackwork is restricted to on-course trainers exclusively
• Doomben is open to off-course trainers for trackwork
• Tie-up stalls and barriers are disinfected prior to and after trials/jumpouts
• Access control points have been secured at both racecourses
• Every person entering the racecourse must be on a list. Gate staff require identification and a mobile number
• Temperature testing began on Wednesday 25 March and continues every race day
• Jockeys have been set up in break out areas – Falvelon Bar (Doomben) and Legends Bar (Eagle Farm). Zones have been marked out in line with guidelines of four square metres per person
• Additional cleaning measures are undertaken prior to and throughout the day
• Saddlecloths and barrier gear are washed regularly with disinfectant
• Hand sanitiser stations are provided for use in all areas
• Key racing staff are cross-trained as a contingency if staff become sick
We are incredibly proud of the response from our team and from all Queensland race clubs working for the industry we all love. Every stakeholder is making some sacrifice in this difficult time but the race clubs are certainly doing their part.
Thank you again for your support. We are very much looking forward to bouncing back after this crisis and seeing all of our Members back at the races.
Neville Bell OAM
Brisbane Racing Club
Update from BRC CEO Tony Partridge - Monday, 16 March 2020
Dear Members and Patrons,
Australia’s response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted industries across the country, including the racing industry. I know that you would have been following many of these developments.
In response to the Federal Government’s advice on combatting the spread of the virus, Racing Queensland has issued a statement advising that all race meetings, trials and trackwork across the state will be conducted without patrons until further notice.
We do not know how long this situation will be in place. The COVID-19 developments are unprecedented in modern times and we simply don’t know the answer to some questions.
However, I can assure you that our Brisbane Racing Club team has been working tirelessly to ensure we are prepared for various possible scenarios in the near future.
This includes collaboration with Racing Queensland and with industry stakeholders regarding the most practicable way to continue to race.
We will keep you informed during this period and provide updates on the status of planning for the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
We support the measures to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our industry participants.
We are grateful that racing can continue for now while other sports face interruption.
While patrons are unable to attend race meetings, we hope the industry can demonstrate its worth by continuing to generate excitement, revenue for our Government and employment, in a challenging time.
Now, as much as ever, we value your support and understanding.
Please CLICK HERE read the statement from Racing Queensland.
Brisbane Racing Club
Update from Racing Queensland - Monday, 16 March 2020
Racing Queensland has advised that all TAB and non-TAB meeting across the state will be conducted without patrons until further notice.
Following the Federal Government’s advice that all non-essential, organised gatherings of more than 500 people be cancelled to manage the spread of COVID-19, RQ has confirmed that all future meetings – along with trials and trackwork – will be limited to key race-day personnel.
Access will be permitted to licenced participants who have a horse or greyhound engaged at the meeting, along with essential club, QRIC and RQ staff; broadcast services; approved accredited media; and associated staff required to conduct racing activities including veterinarians and ambulance services.
Access will not be permitted to the general public in any code, nor owners or on-course wagering providers.
“We are experiencing a unique and complex situation which requires Racing Queensland to adopt a uniform approach,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“The health and safety of our 40,000 participants, including those who are employed in the industry, remains our top-priority and we will continue to work with our clubs, QRIC and participants to navigate this period.
“We are mindful of the carnivals we have on the horizon - and the impact that this decision may have on our clubs – but it is important that we restrict on-course access in the short-term to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 and the potential impact to our industry.”
Additionally, access will not be permitted to any key race-day personnel in Queensland that:
Is suffering from COVID-19 symptoms or is otherwise unwell;
Has been to a country considered at higher risk of COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
Is subject to self-isolation requirements imposed by the Government; or
Has been in close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
Update - Friday, 13 March 2020
The Brisbane Racing Club continues to monitor the COVID-19 updates from public health authorities.
The Federal Government has advised that all non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people will be restricted from Monday, 16 March.
Tomorrow's Paddyfest event has been cancelled. The Brisbane Racing Club will refund all tickets purchased. More information regarding Paddyfest can be found here.
While the BRC does not have a race meeting this weekend, we will attend a meeting with all major southeast Queensland thoroughbred clubs on Monday to discuss multiple issues including the COVID-19 response.
That meeting will help to determine the next steps for the racing industry ahead of our meetings at Doomben on Wednesday 18 March and Eagle Farm on Saturday 21 March.
In the meantime, the BRC urges all of our stakeholders to be aware of the latest public health information to ensure the best measures can be taken against the spread of the virus.
We thank you for your understanding.
If you have any questions, please contact our office:
(07) 3268 2171 (weekdays)