By Oliver Lees
An online petition has been launched calling on the state government to allow crowds to attend the Kyneton Cup.
On October 12, Racing Victoria announced that spectators could return to race meetings from November 4, when the state is expected to reach its target of 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over being fully vaccinated.
The decision comes as the state government confirmed that a crowd of 10,000 people will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup on November 2.
But the Kyneton Cup, scheduled for November 3, will not be allowed to welcome spectators for the second year running.
In 2019, approximately 3500 people were in attendance at the Kyneton Cup.
In the description of the petition advocating for crowds at the annual racing event, Suzanne Carroll said the decision not to allow patrons at the shire’s racing event was “grossly unfair”.
“We want this decision overturned and crowds, fully vaccinated, socially distanced [patrons should be] allowed to attend this year’s Kyneton Cup,” Ms Carrol said.
Ms Carroll said the high vaccination rate of residents in the Macedon Ranges was further proof that the event could be carried out in a COVIDsafe manner.
According to Department of Health data released on Sunday, approximately 95 per cent of eligible Macedon Ranges residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 81.1 per cent having taken two doses.
In a statement online the Kyneton & Hanging Rock Racing Club said the club was “bitterly disappointed”.
“We were very close to being able to host a crowd and look forward to hosting crowds for Christmas race meetings in December and January Hanging Rock meetings,” a club spokesperson said.
“The club will continue to monitor the outcomes of the vaccinated economy trials and easing of restrictions under the Victorian Government road map and further release details to members, sponsors and patrons about attending our upcoming race days after November 6.”
All patrons who purchased tickets and packages to the Kyneton Cup will receive refunds.
Minister for Racing Martin Pakula was contacted for comment.