THE Bendigo Jockey Club will welcome back a limited number of spectators to the racetrack for its final meeting of the year on December 13.
BJC chief executive Aaron Hearps said the club had been granted permission to have up to 500 patrons on-course for its annual Bertocchi Christmas race day.
It will be the first time the club has hosted spectators on course since March 2, before COVID-19 restrictions were enforced.
BJC members will have access to a pre-sale, commencing on Monday, November 30, before a limited number of packages are opened up to the general public from Friday, December 4.
Hearps has welcomed the chance to have a limited number of spectators back on course.
"We have been informed that a significant amount of restrictions will be required to be in place on the race day and we are working through these at the moment," he said.
"I believe all the protocols are all very workable and everyone at the club is just excited to be welcoming back our loyal members, sponsors and patrons to the Bendigo racecourse after nearly 10 months of racing without crowds.
"Although it won't be the race day experience our patrons were accustomed to in the pre-COVID-19 era, I'm sure there will be a lot of members in particular that are just keen to be able to come back on course, enjoy our great facilities and witness some great racing entertainment in-person once more."
In other racing news, the BJC has a new chairman following the appointment of Jack Lyons at the club's recent annual general meeting.
He takes over from Rod Caldow, who was appointed n 2018.
Additionally, Jan Boynton was appointed to the role of vice-chair and Paul Mason as the club's honorary treasurer.
The meeting detailed the BJC's financial performance for the COVID-19-affected 2019-20 racing season, with the club announcing an operating profit of $475,581 - before depreciation and grants.
This represents a year-on-year increase of 3.8 per cent, a tremendous result in view of the circumstances, according to the incoming chairman.
"We are very pleased with this result given we have been unable to host spectators since March when our members and key stakeholders were unable to attend Golden Mile Raceday," Lyons said.
"Racing has been fortunate that it has been able to continue throughout COVID-19 and our club has been very well supported by both Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria throughout this most challenging year and we simply cannot thank them enough."
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