Despite a recent extension to the shutdown of thoroughbred racing in Singapore until June 30, ex-pat Kiwi trainer Donna Logan can see some light at the end of the dark tunnel. With a significant flare up in Covid-19 infections forcing the Singapore government to order a strict lockdown scenario for the country in early April, similar restrictions were imposed domestically as those experienced during the Level 4 phase of New Zealand’s pandemic response.
During that time however, Singapore trainers were allowed to provide basic exercise services on a daily basis for their horses, under strict conditions, but racing and trialling were halted. “From the beginning of the shutdown our Malaysian workers had to either stay in Singapore or go home but if they did, they weren’t allowed back until the restrictions were lifted,” Logan said. “We had eight of our workers stay on which allowed us to trot and canter the horses each day within strict criteria such as wearing face masks and the like.
“I have to say our workers have been just amazing as they have done it hard. They weren’t allowed out of the racecourse and had to have their meals delivered, but they have all coped fantastically well. “We’ve now moved to being allowed to do three-quarter pace for the last fortnight and we can start galloping again tomorrow (Tuesday). “Hopefully, that will mean that we will be allowed to trial them again shortly and then we should be back racing.”
Logan is thankful for the ability to work in her stable each day as it has provided some respite from being cooped up at home with little else to do during the lockdown. “I’ve been able to come to work each day but my husband Peter was in strict lockdown so he could only visit the supermarket or essential services like the bank or the doctor,” she said. “He’s done it pretty hard at home, going mad, so I guess I’ve been the lucky one. “It does look like we are getting moving again as we have been able to lift our staff numbers, as we had a ration on them, so it looks like we are getting back to a level of normality.
“It has come at a good time as there are a lot of bored trainers here as it becomes pretty mundane when you’re not racing. “Once we get back racing, I might have to brush up on all the systems and protocols that I had to learn when I got here just so I can remember them all.”
Aside from a resumption of racing, Logan will also be pleased to see restrictions eased across the country to allow a return to some of the basic pleasures that haven’t been available for the last two months. “Being able to go out and have a meal with people at a restaurant is something I’ve missed so that is going to be really nice,” she said. “There was a big queue at all the hairdressers when they were allowed to re-open although they were only allowed to cut and not dye so I’m looking forward to the dye pot as well. “I guess this has taught us all a lot as you are never really prepared for these things but we have survived it and we have a lot to look forward to.”