Tasracing has salvaged the best possible outcome from a difficult situation by scheduling a thoroughbred meeting for Elwick on Thursday.
It will have the twin benefits of being on a local public holiday (Hobart Show Day) and at least partial coverage on Sky 1.
The meeting is scheduled to start at noon and the first four races will be shown on the premier racing channel before the remainder move to Sky 2.
Although not perfect, that's a good result at short notice.
The meeting replaces the Caulfield Cup day program that had to be abandoned due to Southern Tasmania's three-day COVID lockdown.
The negative for participants and racegoers is that they will be required to wear masks which would not have been the case on Saturday when the crowd was to have been capped at 1000.
Fresh nominations were called for all races and acceptances will be taken at 9am Tuesday.
MASK MANDATE EXPLAINED
Tasracing has provided participants with the following guidelines for the use of face masks which will apply up until 6pm Friday.
Jockeys and drivers must wear a mask at all times, however masks may be lowered for the duration of a race given that racing conditions constitute vigorous physical activity.
Tasracing recommends jockeys and drivers wear masks that will not fall off while in a lowered position - that is, a mask with a strap that goes around the head, rather than around the ears.
Jockeys and drivers may lower their masks as soon as they leave the mounting yard and are on the track and moving towards the start.
Jockeys and drivers will be required to raise their masks to cover their noses and mouth as soon as possible at the conclusion of a race.
NEWMARKET HOPES IN AT MOWBRAY
Tasmania will now have two thoroughbred meetings in as many days, with Mowbray hosting a Cox Plate-eve program on Friday night.
The eight scheduled Mowbray races have attracted 172 entries so it will help with numbers if there is some leakage to the Elwick meeting.
The Open Handicap over 1100m will provide an early guide to the Newmarket if the key runners accept.
The entries include three-time Newmarket winner I'm Wesley, who hasn't raced since February 2020, and stakes-winning mare Deroche who didn't run up to her best form when last at Sandown 3-1/2 weeks ago.
STILL A STAR WILL TRIAL AT LONGFORD
Still A Star will run in a 1400m trial at Longford on Tuesday morning as she prepares for the group 1 Empire Rose at Flemington on Saturday week.
Trainer Bill Ryan wants to give the mare a solid hit-out, as she is going a month between runs.
Her last-start win in the group 2 Rose Of Kingston on October 2 elevated her to the third line of Empire Rose betting at $9.00.
Fellow Tasmanian Mystic Journey shares the top of market at $4.50 with Probabeel who may not run as she is high up in betting on this week's Cox Plate.
Saturday's Caulfield winner Colette and three-time group 1 winner Tofane are both at $5.00.
INJURED SONG TO MISS EVICUS FINAL
The 10-race Hobart harness meeting scheduled for last Sunday night is now on Wednesday night starting at 5.33pm.
Unfortunately one of the feature races has lost a star attraction.
Ryley Major's half sister Baby You A Song has been scratched from the $50,000 Evicus Stakes final due to a leg injury.
The filly went around at $1.35 on debut when she led all the way to win the Evicus Prelude by 12m in 2:00.1.
Her owners Rohan and Katrina Hillier still have a chance of winning the final with Miss Papenhuyzen who was runner-up from a second-row draw in the prelude but now has the pole.
Katrina is a part-owner of the filly and Rohan is the trainer.
Miss Papenhuyzen was beaten a half head by Mays Place in the $20,000 Sweepstakes final at her previous start and they look like fighting out the finish again.
Mickey Oh, a winner of three of his four starts, will be a short-priced favourite for the $50,000 Dandy Patch final but a couple of his rivals have the ability to make it interesting if things don't go his way.
APPEAL DATE SET, OTHERS PENDING
Harness trainer-driver Ray Pullen will have his appeal against a misconduct conviction heard on Wednesday.
Stewards suspended Pullen for three months in August but set aside the penalty on condition that he didn't re-offend in the next 12 months.
However they invoked a $750 fine that had been suspended when Pullen was found guilty of a similar offence in February.
He has appealed against both conviction and penalty on the latest charge.
The Appeal Board is yet to publish dates for appeals by thoroughbred trainer Vern Poke against a $1000 arsenic fine and harness trainer Matthew Cooper against various penalties including a 12-month disqualification.
It is understood there is at least one more arsenic positive in thoroughbred racing which pre-dates the Poke finding in June.
PUNTERS EXPECTING ZAAKI TO REBOUND
Punters are rallying back to the favourite Zaaki in Saturday's Cox Plate.
After touching $1.80 at one stage in early betting, he drifted to $3.00 after his last-start defeat.
However he is now back into $2.80 with tab.com.au.
Trainer Annabel Neasham was diplomatic while assessing Craig Williams' ride in the Caulfield Stakes.
She politely suggested he may have adopted different tactics if he had his time over again.
Regular rider James McDonald will be back on this week while Williams takes over on second favourite Anamoe ($13 into $4.00).
Craig Newitt is listed as the likely rider of former Japanese galloper Keiai Nautique.