Thousands of fully vaccinated fans could attend Cox Plate day

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Fully vaccinated punters could be allowed to attend the Cox Plate next month, becoming a pilot program for Victoria to bring fans back to sporting events.

The Moonee Valley Racing Club is bidding to host the first event to welcome crowds on October 23, with Racing Victoria officials in talks with the state government.

Spectators were unable to attend the race-day last year, but a ‘no jab, no entry’ policy will hopefully welcome fans back to the spring racing carnival.

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While normally the track is sold out on Cox Plate day, with crowds of up to 38,000, Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell said 3,000 to 5,000 people will be spread across zones under the proposed model for attendance.

‘We just need to see how it tracks in the next couple of weeks in terms of case numbers and if the government is willing to open things up a bit,’ Mr Browell told the Herald Sun.

General admission tickets are unlikely to be available for this year’s event, with Victoria in lockdown until at least September 23. 

But, if the government approved the vaccine passport model, limited crowds could be granted entry.

Members and racehorse owners would be among the first allowed to attend, as long as they provide proof of full vaccination. 

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‘We’re taking a wait-and-see approach and we’ll see what happens September 23 and then whether or not the government wants to embrace this double vax pilot scheme for these events,’ Mr Browell said. 

Victoria’s Sports and Racing Minister Martin Pakula said that talks are underway with Moonee Valley officials and other racing and sporting clubs to host fans. 

‘Ultimately clubs will submit Covid safe plans and they will be assessed by the public health team based on the epidemiological conditions at the time,’ he said.

Mr Browell was quietly confident that racing fans may be able to attend events in late October to early November as governments around the country change from a Covid-zero approach to concentrating on vaccination rates.

He said that this year’s Cox Plate would be a brilliant event to kick off the double vaccine passport test pilot scheme.

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The Victoria Racing Club has also submitted Covid safe plans for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, held at Flemington Racecourse.

The Moonee Valley proposal comes as Victoria recorded another 183 Covid cases on Sunday September 5.

About 101 are linked to known cases and outbreaks while the source of the other 82 remains a mystery. 

Sydney punters are set to attend Royal Randwick for The Everest on October 16.

A plan is in place for fans to sit outside, fully masked, placing bets from their seats.

Soccer fans in NSW are also excited, as those who have their double jab passports will be able to watch the Socceroos play Oman on October 7.

Meanwhile in England, at The Oval test match against India people were able to attend with no proof of vaccination, no negative Covid test and didn’t have to wear masks. 

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