Vic COVID-19 spike troubles Valley chief

Tuesday 30 June 2020, 2:46pm

Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell has not given up hope of having some form of crowd on course for the 100th running of the Cox Plate.

Browell was upbeat with how coronavirus numbers had been tracking in Melbourne earlier this month before a dramatic turnaround in recent weeks.

Now Browell and his team are looking predominantly at two scenarios for crowd numbers at their October showpiece.

"There is four clear options we are working through," Browell told RSN927.

"The two that we are focused heavily on are the current restrictions of one person per four square metres.

"Moonee Valley with its configuration, we wouldn't be able to get anywhere near the 10,000 that was first proposed by the Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago.

"It's more in our favour if it drops back to one person per two square metres and at this point in time you would think that is best case scenario.

"I don't really want to focus on the no-crowd option, that would be diabolical for all of us, and I don't think there is much point focusing too much time on crowds as per last year.

"Let's hope Victoria can trend in the right direction over the next two weeks, to a month, and let's hope we can welcome people in large numbers back to the track."

Browell said the MVRC had made a submission to the Racing Victoria board to keep the Cox Plate prize money at $5 million.

An announcement on spring prize money levels and a possible return to pre-COVID-19 prize money levels is expected this week.

"Hopefully we'll be in a position shortly to announce the 100th running of the Cox Plate will carry record prize money of $5 million and the $1 million bonus that is linked to two international races and 13 local races, of which four have already been run," Browell said.

– AAP

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