Perth Cup passes COVID test with flying colours

There was a smaller-than-usual crowd of 8000 on course but far greater attention across the state on the first major event in Western Australia requiring proof of vaccination to attend.

For race fans, however, the highlight was still the iconic race.

Patrick Carbery steered the favourite Midnight Blue past the post just ahead of Paddy’s Shadow to score his second Perth Cup victory. He last won on Lottila Bay in 2001.

Owners Bob and Sandra Peters notched up a remarkable 10th victory in the historic race, which first ran in 1887.

The Perth Cup is one of Western Australia’s favourite races and a New Year’s Day tradition for many families.

Perth Racing had about 800 staff on hand for the day to manage vaccination requirements and ensure everything ran smoothly.

Extra tables and chairs were set up across the course to help people comply with rules to sit while eating or driving.

New systems were created to avoid hitches in getting horses, trainers, strappers and other race staff onto the course and on with their jobs.

RWWA Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards said working within COVID-19 health restrictions had become part of racing.

“The racing community has been fortunate in being allowed to carry on through the pandemic and we have proven ourselves capable of rapidly adjusting and operating in line with COVID rules,” he said.

“People have been coming together to celebrate the Perth Cup for more than 130 years and it’s a highlight of the calendar at Ascot Racecourse. We are grateful this tradition has been allowed to continue as we move into 2022.”

Racegoers moved quickly through the queue to get on course before the first race at 11.30am, despite the new COVID-19 checks.

COVID-19 marshals in high-vis vests were stationed along the maze-like entry fence reminding people to check-in on the WA Safe app and eye-catching purple TABtouch face masks were handed out freely at the gate.

Ahead of the event, Premier Mark McGowan suggested the process would become normal for big events in WA after the border reopening.

Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti said: “If this is a test run, it has to be said we’ve passed with flying colours.

“There was always some concern about how it was going to operate, but I think people are just happy that the restrictions seem to be really reasonable and sensible and it’s not much of a hardship to endure to enjoy a day at the races.”

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

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