27 March 2020

Abernethy Racing Stables, has elected to turnout nearly its entire racing team as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Papakura -based operation will only continue with a skeleton staff to handle their younger stock, while the majority of their team has headed to Hunua Farm, to spell.

Abernethy Racing Stables had already established measures to protect their staff before the country moved to Covid-19 alert level 4 at 11:59pm on Wednesday.

“We have been making sure all staff keep at least 2 metres away from each other at all times.  there is no more than five working in any one section.

“We have sent most of the horses to spell at the Hunua Farm. We will only have a limited number of horses at Papakura and a few yearlings that are in the breaking-in and education phase.”

Abernethy Racing Stables has elected to take a cautious approach, spelling the majority of race team.

“Abernethy Racing Stables is trying to show responsibility. “We have told all of our staff that they have still got jobs. Some are having holidays, some will stay on to help with all the horses that are still at the Stables.

“Most of our horses where going go to go out for a spell in the next month anyway.

“We hope that the lockdown is only for four weeks. Even if it is eight weeks, we will be raring to go as soon as it is all over.”

While it may be longer than the initial four week lockdown period announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern before racing commences, The industry could take some creative approaches to allow for a quicker return to racing.

“We will be doing everything we can to help the racing industry get back on its feet as soon as possible.