A decision on whether anyone else, including jockeys, need to quarantine will be made by Saturday morning, however the Moonee Valley meeting is expected to proceed as planned.
“Unfortunately I’ve been made aware late this afternoon that one of our staff members has tested positive to COVID,” Laming said in a voice message to owners on Friday evening.
“I have been in contact with the stewards and we’ve had to scratch our weekend runners and also our stable is in lockdown for the weekend.
“Obviously all our staff now have to be tested for COVID tomorrow and all our horses are in quarantine in our stabling area tomorrow and Sunday and maybe even further until we get our tests back.
“I have been in contact with the stewards; we’re going by all the rules and protocols and I’m guided by them so unfortunately guys there will be no runners on the weekend, but I just wanted to bring you up to speed.”
Racing Victoria said the staff member last worked at the stables last Sunday, was tested on Wednesday and was confirmed as a positive case on Friday.
“Mr Laming has had only one starter in the past eight days, which was at Sandown on Wednesday. The staff member was not in attendance,” Racing Victoria said in a statement.
“As a result of the notification, RV Stewards, acting on the advice of RV’s Chief Medical Officer, have placed Mr Laming’s stables into lockdown whilst the matter is further investigated.
“Mr Laming’s two acceptors at The Valley tomorrow – both of which were emergencies – will be withdrawn so that no staff members will be in attendance. The stable has no other acceptors at this time.
“RV is working with Mr Laming to have all of his staff members tested tomorrow. Until such time as they have been cleared by the Chief Medical Officer to return to work, all have been asked to isolate at home.
“RV is currently undertaking contact tracing and further investigative work to determine whether other Cranbourne stables and/or industry participants will be required to stand down pending testing.”
Racing faced a similar scenario earlier this month when a staff member of Jason Warren’s Mornington stable was identified as a close contact to someone who tested positive. But racing has been able to continue through the pandemic under strict protocols, including a ban on crowds.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.