Whanganui thoroughbred racehorse trainers and their counterparts nationwide can continue to work their horses while racing is shut down under Covid-19 alert level four conditions.

From midnight Wednesday night New Zealand moved to Covid-19 alert level 4 with only essential services permitted to operate.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing issued a statement yesterday outlining conditions under which horses can continue to be trained at local tracks.

Race meetings, however, for all three codes – gallops, harness and greyhounds – continue to be banned during the four week lockdown.


"Our advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries confirms that training centres, training stables, agistment properties and stud farms where horses are in containment are considered essential services under animal welfare considerations," NZTR said.

"Businesses with more than five people (including the owner) working at each business site, or who cannot achieve social distancing between staff, are required to register.

"The businesses will need to answer 11 questions to provide assurance they have a plan and process to manage infection risks."

NZTR said it would issue detailed protocols and a template to assist trainers with the necessary paperwork, while the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association will create a template for stud farms and agistment properties.

Operations manager Bret Field said the Wanganui Jockey Club had registered immediately after the decision was announced.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"We are happy to be able to provide support to our industry and our local stakeholders at this difficult time by being able to offer limited training services at our venue for the well-being of the horses. We have measures in place to provide a safe environment and monitor the Health & Safety of humans and animals responsibly," Field said.

Meanwhile, staff at the Whanganui Greyhound Racing Club, are also catered for under the wage subsidy package.


Operations manager Paul Freeman confirmed yesterday that while all racing had shutdown throughout the country, including New Zealand's second busiest tracks at Hatrick Raceway in Whanganui, staff had been catered for and were ready to hunker down for the duration.