THE virtually weekly trip to Mildura for many of the Bendigo harness racing participants will not go ahead this week, with Thursday night's scheduled meeting transferred to Swan Hill.
Due to the need for COVID-19 testing to be conducted in the Mildura Recreation Reserve, Mildura Rural City Council has informed the harness racing club that the City Oval will not be available for harness racing on Thursday.
The testing comes in response to the confirmation of Mildura's first two positive coronavirus cases in 15 months.
Thousands of residents have turned out to get tested following the announcement of the initial Mildura positive case on Sunday.
A household contact of the man later tested positive on Monday.
The Bendigo region will still be well represented at Swan Hill, highlighted by the return of Bernie Winkle for his first start in 20 days.
The Julie Douglas-trained eight-year-old has made Mildura his own over the past 15 months, in particular this year, with 13 wins and four placings from 18 starts at the City Oval Paceway.
He has raced only five times at Swan Hill in 218 career starts and been placed second on three occasions, including at his most recent run in August last year.
Bernie Winkle will be chasing his seventh-straight win on Thursday night and his 11th win from his past 12 starts.
He will take on a small field of four, including regular rivals Caulonia Terror and Velox Equu, and stable-mates Pocket Thedeal and Ozzie Battler.
The Douglas-trained five-year-old Khaki Nui will be looking to build on an impressive winning streak of his own, shooting for four-straight in the NR 54 to 64 pace (race six).
From New Zealand, Khaki Nui made it three-on-end with an impressive victory at Mildura last Friday and will again be driven by Jack Laugher.
Elsewhere on the program, strong Bendigo region chances present in the form of the Shane Sanderson/Charlton-trained six-year-old Good Guy Mack in race five and the Kate Hargreaves/Shelbourne-trained pair Kiedis (race two) and Arma Veyron (race 10).
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