Coronavirus could delay Cox Plate a yearTuesday 31 March 2020
Planning for the 100th Cox Plate at The Valley has been put on hold until the Moonee Valley Racing Club can ascertain the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
MVRC chief executive Michael Browell said he would prefer to wait a year and hold the 100th Cox Plate in 2021 if this year's race was to be run without a crowd on course.
"One of the options we may have to consider is putting a line through the Cox Plate this year if everything isn't back in normal working conditions and then postpone it until October 2021," Browell told RSN927.
"This is my personal view. My least preferred model would be running the Cox Plate with no-one on course.
"It's the 100th year. We've got a massive celebration planned, flying people in from around the world for this, but I'm not going to pre-empt what the decision might be.
"We've got a little bit of time up our sleeve, but we want the 100th running of the Cox Plate to be a massive celebration with all the past champions to celebrate it with us.
"Ideally the world gets back to normal and we can run it this year."
Browell said June 1 was a critical date.
He said if racing ceased because of COVID-19 and training also halted, he doubted there would be enough time for racing to be up and going again in time for the Cox Plate on October 24.
"If we find that training closes down, horses have to be sent to agistment and then starting from scratch," Browell said.
"It could take anywhere between eight and 10 weeks before you've got horses back racing over short course distances."
The coronavirus crisis has forced the MVRC to reduce costs with staff at The Valley currently on leave.
The last meeting at The Valley following was on March 20 while their next is scheduled for June 13.
Browell said because of the coronavirus pandemic the club had been forced to close its gaming and hospitality businesses leaving zero revenue.