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Horse racing back on after jockey tests negative

Racing Victoria received the news they were hoping for when Mark Zahra’s COVOID-19 test came back negative late on Thursday night and racing can continue throughout Australia.


Racing will now go ahead in Victoria on Friday with meetings at Warrnambool and Pakenham.

The Australian racing industry had sweated on the result which caused racing in Victoria, Sydney, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia to grind to a halt as they had jockeys who had ridden against Zahra and now they can all resume racing.


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Mark Zahra and Gytrash cause a boilover in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning last month.

Mark Zahra and Gytrash cause a boilover in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning last month.

RV’s chief executive Giles Thompson said he was relieved to get the result which paved the way for racing to resume after Sandown’s meeting ended after two races on Wednesday and meetings were abandoned on Thrsday at Kilmore and Pakenham.

“We’re really pleased for Mark that his test has come back negative. This situation has placed undue pressure on Mark through no fault of his own and I want to again publicly thank and acknowledge the professional and responsible manner in which he has acted,” Thompson said.

Zahra has five rides at Saturday’s Bendigo Golden Mile race meeting.

Zahra was informed by the NSW Health Department that when he returned to Melbourne from Sydney on March 12, the day before the lockdowns were introduced, he had sat near someone who had tested positive to coronavirus.

Zahra, had not shown any signs of ill health, but was immediately tested and subsequently racing authorities stopped race meetings throughout Australia.

Earlier in the day Racing NSW received good news when Hugh Bowman and Tommy Berry, who were tested on Wednesday night, after they became aware of Zahra’s situation tested negative as well.

Tommy Berry: good to go.

Tommy Berry: good to go.

Four Victorian jockeys had also self tested and they had also returned negative tests.

Racing Victoria officials were always confident Zahra would be cleared as he had shown no signs of the virus but they had to wait for the result as his test went into the pool of tests in the state.

Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Matt Hyland praised Zahra on acting on the information he had received immediately.

“He was contacted by New South Wales Health and told he had sat near someone on a flight back from Sydney who had tested positive to corona virus,” Hyland said.

“As soon as Mark found out he was pretty anxious and got to me and then to Dr Gary Zimmerman who arranged for him to get tested and to get the ball rolling.”

“Mark has done everything right and done nothing wrong. He was on a flight the day before the shutdown came into place.”

Originally published as Horse racing back on after jockey tests negative

Hugh Bowman: no worries.

Hugh Bowman: no worries.

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