Jockey Grant Buckley rides Godolphin's Whispered to victory in a handicap at Kembla Grange in Australia last month. Image Credit: Godolphin website

Dubai: While most of the horseracing meetings around the world are on hold due to COVID-19, the Dubai-owned Godolphin stable’s Australian wing remain active as the sport continues in parts of the country under strict government and WHO guidelines.

The week, James Cummings, Godolphin’s head trainer Down Under, turns his attention to the Canterbury Park Racecourse in Sydney, New South Wales, where he saddles several exciting chances on an eight-race card.

The 19th century racecourse is one of six venues hosting meetings on Wednesday, April 22.

Cummings has secured the services of champion jockey Hugh Bowman for three of his five contenders including the three-time winner Whispered who takes his chances in the 7f Schweppes Handicap for three-year-olds and over.

A colt by top stallion Lonhro, Whispered will be making his third appearance to a racecourse this season having already tasted success in the Handicap at Kembla Grange last month. He faces nine rivals.

Other Cummings-Bowman runners include Loveseat in the Sky Racing Active Handicap and Dynamited in the Ranvet Power Formula Handicap.

Meanwhile, James McDonald teams up with Vucetich, a two-year-old by Lonhro, in the Too Dam Hot @ Darley Handicap. The Godolphin homebred is looking for his first win in three starts.

While horseracing has been taking place at several racecourses in Australia behind closed doors, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has censured the racing industry for ignoring the Coronavirus outbreak. The AMA has called for the sport to shut down until the Coronavirus crisis has been brought under control.

However, racing authorities believe that it’s in the best interest of the animal’s welfare to let the meeting continue with only essential participants involved.

Charlotte Mills, Managing Director for Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) told ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): “The point of difference I’d make very clearly is that we have a lot of animals under people who are employees’ care — we have thoroughbreds, standardbreds and greyhounds,” she said.

“At the point of which racing would shut down, the care of those animals and the welfare of those animals is something we’re contemplating at this time.

“These animals are bred to race and while horses can spell and dogs can be in kennels for a period of time, it’s the ability for them to come back into the racing environment at a suitable time and the support that’s given to provide that opportunity.”