Two of Sydney’s leading jockeys admit they have considered entering quarantine after the autumn carnival in order to relocate to Brisbane for the revamped feature meetings.
Hugh Bowman and Tim Clark, who have five Group One wins between them this autumn leading into the final day of carnival at Randwick on Saturday, would usually be starting to plan their winter schedule for Queensland.
This year, because of coronavirus travel restrictions, their participation would require a 14-day quarantine period before they were allowed to ride interstate.
While neither has ruled out exploring the option further, both are lukewarm on the value of undergoing such a process.
“I have considered it and I will talk to my trainers,” Bowman said.
“If I did do that, I’d move my whole family up there but it might just be easier to stay in Sydney.
“There is that option but it’s not likely.”
Queensland Racing officials originally cancelled the winter carnival before reviving some of the better races, including the Group One Stradbroke Handicap, as part of a reduced offering.
With restrictions also affecting interstate travel for horse grooms and stable staff, the logistics surrounding Sydney-trained horses competing in Queensland will also present challenges.
While the carnival officially concludes on Saturday, stakes racing will continue in Sydney with showcase meetings usually held at provincial and country tracks transferred to the metropolitan area.
Clark said this ensured there was plenty of reason to stay close to home this year, rather than head to Brisbane.
“It’s highly unlikely I’d be doing that. It is a month without racing really because you’ve got to do the two weeks (quarantine) before and the two weeks after,” Clark said.
“I understand why we need to do that, I see a few of the Melbourne boys might be doing that to go over to the Adelaide carnival, they’ve got some good opportunities over there.
“But there are still some nice races down here with Hawkesbury, Scone and Gosford (transferred).
“It’s going to be interesting what horses go to Brisbane and whether you’re going to get as many horses go up.”
While the Doomben 10,000, Queensland Derby and Oaks are casualties of this year’s Brisbane carnival, another 15 stakes races will proceed, starting with the BRC Sprint (1200m) at Doomben on May 9.