Racing and Wagering WA issues double jab plea to ‘ensure racing continues’ as mandate deadline approaches

Jay Rooney and Michael Roberts Midwest Times
RWWA chief racing integrity officer Denis Borovica.
Camera IconRWWA chief racing integrity officer Denis Borovica. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Racing and Wagering WA’s new vaccine mandate has put the spotlight on trainers and other licensed racing participants who reportedly aren’t double jabbed.

From February 5, the date WA’s border reopens, any person licensed or approved by RWWA to conduct any activity associated with the running of race meetings, trials or trackwork must be fully vaccinated.

They must have at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and a booster shot within one month of being eligible to receive it.

If they do not comply, their licence will be suspended.

Trainers won’t be able to nominate their horses or greyhounds for races and trials or attend RWWA approved stables, kennels, training establishments, race tracks and trial tracks.

They cannot work at their own private training facilities.

Exemptions will only be given to those who are granted a medical exemption on the Australian Immunisation Register, a temporary exemption by the Chief Health Officer or anyone who has had the first jab but has had difficulty getting their second one before the deadline.

RWWA chief racing integrity officer Denis Borovica said it was imperative that racing participants were fully vaccinated to ensure racing continued without any disruptions, particularly with the threat of a spike in cases from February 5 onwards.

Since the rule was announced on Thursday, there has been talk of several trainers who aren’t yet vaccinated.

Could they walk away from the sport? Or will they get the jabs to continue their careers? There could be a raft of horses changing stables and training arrangements changing if they don’t comply.

Kenyluck pips Son Son at the post to win the Geraldton Toyota Batavia Sprint.
Camera IconKenyluck pips Son Son at the post to win the Geraldton Toyota Batavia Sprint. Credit: Justine Rowe/ Around the Traps/Around the Traps

Meanwhile, Geraldton sprinter Kenyluck survived a protest to deliver trainer Allan Hughes a popular hometown win in the $100,000 Batavia Sprint (1200m) on Sunday.

Sent straight to the front by jockey Simone Altieri, Kenyluck ($6) fought on strongly late to hold off the unlucky $1.70 favourite, Son Son, by a short neck. Jericho Missile ($18) was third.

Son Son’s rider Clint Johnston-Porter fired in a protest alleging interference from the winner in the last 100m, but the objection was dismissed by stewards.

Hughes said he was over the moon with his 12th win at Geraldton.

“It felt fantastic,” he told the Guardian.

“He’s a tough little horse and he deserved to win.”

Hughes said he was confident of placing first when the six-year-old horse rounded the straight in the 1200m race.

“I watched him kick and I thought they would want to be good to get him because he is a tough little bastard,” he said.

“He just goes. He jumps to the front and stays there.”

Disappointed by the protest, Hughes said there was “nothing in it”.

“When I viewed the film I felt we weren’t going to have too many problems surviving it because the jockey on the inside fully rode his horse out,” he said.

“We never shifted ground and we never took any ground off them either.

“We clearly won it quite easily.”

Kenyluck's Allan Hughes, Simone Altieri and Ros White.
Camera IconKenyluck's Allan Hughes, Simone Altieri and Ros White. Credit: Justine Rowe/ Around the Traps/Around the Traps

Coming off a fourth placing in Perth, Hughes said Kenyluck would head back to the big smoke to compete.

“He’s proved that he’s no slouch, he can mix it with them easy,” he said.

Altieri said Kenyluck was an “absolute legend”.

“I love that horse to bits,” she said.

“Obviously going into a protest, especially in a race like that, it was a little bit nerve-racking walking in there.

“We went over our comments and as soon as the film came up and I saw what the protest was about, I felt pretty confident and the relief just came as I thought ‘we’ll be all right here’.”

Earlier in the day Honorfic — trained by Peter Daly — charged to the post to win Race 6 ahead of Ebony Magi and Machali.

Jockey Troy Turner guided Rome to victory in the 1400m sprint in Race 5, while Johnston-Porter triumphed on Blankenberge in the 1100m sprint in Race 4.

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