Insurance against closed-door racing

slipper trophy
The $3.5m Golden Slipper will be held without spectators as coronavirus protocols are enacted.

The cost of spectator-free racing will not be known for some time but the Australian Turf Club is insured against losses for its three biggest autumn carnival meetings.

Saturday’s showpiece Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill, featuring five Group One races, will be held behind closed doors while the same is expected for The Championships at Randwick on April 4 and 11.

Last year almost 25,000 attended Slipper day and the same would have been expected for The Championships.

ATC spokesman Brett de Vine said the club was insured but would obviously incur losses over the federal government coronavirus protocols in place regarding mass gatherings.

“We tell the insurance company in advance what we are budgeting for in terms of a crowd, they determine the pay-out based on that,” de Vine said.

“We will lose some money but it will be mitigated by the insurance policy.

“The policy only covers the three major race days – the Golden Slipper and the two days of the Championships.”

Added measures announced on Sunday include restrictions on travel with Australia following New Zealand’s guidelines.

People entering the the country will be required to serve a 14-day period of self-isolation.

This is likely to impact on Japanese horses which were expected to arrive in Sydney on Tuesday with their handlers for the carnival.

Australian jockeys Brett Prebble and Tommy Berry had been scheduled to fly to Hong Kong for next Sunday’s Derby meeting but that is in doubt given the conditions they face on their return.

Hong Kong and Japan have been holding meetings without the public for the past few weeks.

Racing in Ireland is now restricted to necessary personnel while the Kentucky Derby meeting in May, traditionally the United States’ biggest day for crowds, is likely to be behind closed doors.

Last week, British officials allowed the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead with more than 250,000 attending over the four days.