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By David Fowler | Tuesday, May 12, 2020

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

Everyone seems to be talking up a “new normal” as we transition out of the covid-19 pandemic with the “old normal” considered unlikely to exist.

It’s a topic worth considering in terms of the racing industry as that long awaited transitioning period was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last Friday.

In the immediate and short term, the current landscape will remain largely unaltered.

Public outside gatherings of 10 and 20 over the next two months don’t mean a jot for race clubs champing at the bit to have patrons “reclicking” the turnstiles (a quaint phrase I know).

But it’s a different issue for TAB agencies and lobbying is already underway to green light their reopening from next month.

Numbers of 10 and 20 in a TAB are realistic in this day and age. Social distancing and hand sanitising could be comfortably undertaken.

The question begs … will these measures remain forever? Is this the “new normal”?

It’s also a question to be posed when club and pub gaming resume activities.

Race clubs can only spot a glimpse of hope when the number permitted in outside public gatherings steps up to 100 from the middle of July.

And one would estimate that’s at the very earliest.

Those very clubs are entitled to ask is that 100 people in total or 100 people in different areas? Race tracks and their environs are spacious or can be made to be spacious.

What is the make-up of the 100 people? Who gets precedence for example? Owners or members are two categories that readily come to my mind where the decision makers could have opposing views.

It would be a surprise if all the bells and whistles associated with health measures are not implemented at the track.

But, similar to the TAB agencies, for how long?

Will we see a time again when thousands are allowed to flock through the gates at their will? The “old normal”.

Or will the “new normal” be segregated crowds, lesser in number, and under tighter healthy security measures? “The new normal”.

Every day is one day less to our signature Spring Carnival days.

On a broader front, there is another issue that the racing industry must confront and it also fits in to the new and old normal paradigm.

Administrators have performed admirably to keep racing going yet have also accommodated the punter to keep his or her involvement as normal as possible.

The end result is that it has made it even easier to bet away from the track but it was, and is, necessary in the circumstances presented.

Will those people be rushing back to the track when the time permits?

So many questions outlined above.

One last one and probably the one most significant.

“New normal or old normal”. What will it be?

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best