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Zahra tested for COVID-19 8:44am

Star hoop on commercial flight with confirmed Coronavirus case

Mark Zahra is the star jockey being tested for COVID-19.

Racing in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia ground to a halt on the back of Racing Victoria’s statement that Zahra may have come into contact with a confirmed case on a commercial flight on March 12.

That flight was seven days before Racing Victoria introduced its jockey segregation plan. Zahra had not broken any restrictions by catching the flight with the jockey just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

RV said Zahra has shown no signs of ill health and were hopeful of getting his results on Thursday.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said he expected to resume racing straight away if Zahra is given the all-clear.

Fairfax Media have reported New South Wales hoops Hugh Bowman and Tom Berry were sent by Racing NSW for COVID-19 tests as a precaution. The duo shared a private plane back to New South Wales for the Golden Slipper meeting after riding at Moonee Valley's Group 1 William Reid meeting.

Victorian jockeys were absent from trackwork on Thursday morning after being directed to stand down until Zahra’s result was known.

The Victorian Jockeys Association issued the instruction to its members on Wednesday evening, only hours after race meetings at Sandown, Warwick Farm and Pinjarra were abandoned.

Racing Victoria, which is due to provide a further update on Thursday, also moved to cancel race meetings at Kilmore and Pakenham on Thursday.

Thompson said he was "hopeful" Zahra's case was "low risk".

"As far as where we are now. Well, we are waiting for a test basically and that test is in the system. The system is what it is at the moment," Thompson told RSN.

"My understanding is the current system in Victoria is that the tests go to a central testing system and therefore you have to wait for that central system. 

"We are hopeful for an answer today (Thursday). It can't be guaranteed. We are at the mercy of the system and we are in the queue like everyone else." 

Thompson confirmed those that had been in close contact with Zahra had been reached out to by the Chief Medical Officer or the VJA been told to self-isolate.

Victorian Jockeys Association boss Matt Hyland admitted Zahra was "pretty anxious" after being told that he may have come into contact with a COVID-19 case.

"It's fair to say  it would be a fairly daunting phone call that he would have received," Hyland told RSN.

"The flight Mark caught was well before any shutdown, certainly crowds and all that sort of thing. So you can only control what you can control.

"We will sit and wait. Hopefully today get a positive result (for racing) and move on."

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