Karis Teetan will be isolated from his fellow riders at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with the Jockey Club taking extra precautions after the Mauritian had a holiday in Dubai.
Last week, the 29-year-old took advantage of a two-meeting suspension to enjoy a short break, but with the coronavirus pandemic exploding to unprecedented levels in recent days and new quarantine restrictions being brought in worldwide, the Jockey Club wanted to reduce any risks.
Teetan, who was back at trackwork on Monday morning, is not showing any symptoms and he has passed every test he has undertaken.
But the issue is if the virus was to infiltrate the bubble that is Hong Kong racing, then it could jeopardise the short-term future of the sport, which has continued behind closed doors for the past month and a half.
“We’re not concerned about Karis,” Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding said.
“As a precaution we’ve done a series of daily tests for him, he’s exercising social [distancing] and will be in a separate locker room entirely to the other jockeys [on Wednesday] night.”
A similar process was set to be implemented for the international riders booked for Sunday’s BMW Hong Kong Derby, but the dynamics of that situation changed quickly and now none of them will compete.
And the situation is not just limited to riders, with the Jockey Club putting chief steward Kim Kelly in quarantine after he returned from a trip to see his family in Australia. He will miss Wednesday night’s meeting.
“We have created a bubble and we have to keep the bubble intact,” Jockey Club chief
executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said over the weekend. “We won’t compromise people’s safety and our priority is to keep racing going.
“When I look at the situation in Hong Kong, you have not seen a real community-wide spread. The risks now seem to be coming from outside and we need to manage that.”