Mount Isa and Cloncurry will see racing resume after Racing Queensland has introduced a new 'Greater Western' Thoroughbred region in its COVID-19 biosecurity measures.
Having implemented designated racing regions late last month, with the support and advice of Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, Greater Western has been established to restrict movement from the Queensland coast to remote communities, with non-TAB meetings to be programmed to support the move. The new region will see racing held at Roma, Charleville, Longreach, Barcaldine, Mount Isa and Cloncurry.
The re-configured racing regions were implemented from Sunday, and include:
- Metro North (Brisbane and Sunshine Coast);
- Metro South West (Gold Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba);
- South East Regional;
- Central Coast;
- North Coast; and
- Greater Western.
Having previously permitted jockeys to race across two non-metropolitan zones, they will now be restricted to their designated racing regions as is the case for all other licensed participants, including trainers and stable staff. Any licensed participant wanting to re-locate to an alternative racing region will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.
RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said the organisation was constantly reviewing its COVID-19 protocols and had established Greater Western as a designated racing region as a further precautionary measure. Subject to ongoing government and health advice, there will be no further changes to designated racing regions before a review on May 1.
"The Queensland racing industry has moved swiftly and efficiently to implement a range of biosecurity measures including patron-free meetings and designated racing regions. By establishing Greater Western, we're able to further isolate participant movement across the state," Mr Parnell said.
"This aligns with the Queensland government's latest protocols relating to the region and to ensure outback communities are being quarantined from the coast. It will also allow RQ to program a non-TAB calendar, which will provide additional economic and animal welfare benefits. On an annual basis, the Queensland outback generates more than $22 million in economic contribution and supports more than 2700 participants," he said.
Meanwhile galloper Galea Warrior has continued a winning sequence that began at Winton in September last year and has now extended with a further three wins at Mount Isa - the latest occurring last Saturday with victory in a 1200m Open Plate.
A finalist in the 2018 Battle of the Bush, the six-year-old gelding is a first crop son of triple Group 1 winner Helmet from the winning Favorite Trick (USA) mare Meru Hill and cost $80,000 at the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier yearling sale. Now trained locally by trainer Robert Burow, Galea Warrior had his first start in Queensland at the 2017 Birdsville races where he finished second after winning a solitary maiden at Donald in Victoria. All up, Galea Warrior has had 34 starts for 10 wins and 14 placings.
Burow trained the quinella with stablemate Try 'N' Run A Muck (G7 Pure Theatre/Gossip Maid) finishing one length behind in second place.
Burow was a boxing trainer for 25 years before he began training horses. "When I moved to Mount Isa there wasn't a lot to do on the weekends, so we ended up owning a horse or two and the trainer actually retired. After helping him out in the stables he said 'why don't you have a go?' So, I've been doing it ever since."
The other highlight on the Mount Isa eight-race program was a winning treble for Julia Creek owner/trainer Kerry Krogh. His three winners were Rock Tsar (1450m Benchmark 69 handicap), Caitlin Emily (1100m Maiden handicap) and Explosive Missile (1200m Benchmark 50 handicap).
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