BENDIGO Greyhound Racing Association has taken the "disappointing, but necessary" step to postpone all feature races scheduled for its annual Gold Rush Carnival.
The carnival, which was first run in 2005, is staged each year during the Easter period.
This year's event was to include seven meetings across 12 days, starting on Thursday, April 12 and ending on Sunday, April 12.
Racing will continue throughout that period without crowds and minus feature events, including the flagship Gold Rush Maiden final, and the Stayers and Easter cups.
BGRA chief executive Troy Harley said the decision to exclude feature races from the program had been made jointly by the club and Greyhound Racing Victoria in line with revised racing models aimed at allowing greyhound racing to continue in some form in the immediate future.
He said intense travel restrictions imposed by the government had the potential to impact the accessibility of tracks and feature races for trainers.
"Given the circumstances, some trainers who are currently allowed to nominate for these races are likely to be excluded from them moving forward - a situation that is unacceptable and therefore has led to the postponement of these feature races," Harley said.
"It is unlikely that the meetings will go ahead under the current schedule and there is the potential for changes to be made during a series so there is no other option at this point in time except to postpone.
"Whether these races can be reprogrammed once the racing calendar returns to normal later in the year will be determined at a later date, but for now the features have been put on hold and we wait to see what schedule we will have during the current crisis.
"The timing is not ideal given the Gold Rush Maiden heats commence this week and trainers have been preparing their dogs to compete in a few days, however, the circumstances in which we can operate during COVID-19 regulations change on a daily basis and they changed again today".
"The Gold Rush Carnival has continued to grow in popularity both on and off the track, however, like many sporting and social events around the world, will not be held in 2020 due to COVID-19."
Racing is still scheduled at Bendigo on April 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 12.
The BGRA will provide information from the track via social media on race days to ensure punters are armed with up to date information.
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