‘It doesn’t make sense’ – champion coach banned for non-vaccination | Horse racing news

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Caspar Fownes: Picked up a fourth Hong Kong coaching title last year

By Peter Scargil

Champion trainer Caspar Fownes says he ‘doesn’t care’ what people think of him after he was prevented from attending races in Hong Kong because he was not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Fownes, 54, won his fourth championship last year after a stellar season, which included success in the Hong Kong Derby with Sky Darci and victory in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint at the international meeting last month with SkyField.

However, with racing in Hong Kong taking place behind closed doors due to a rise in coronavirus infections and a recent positive test at Happy Valley Racecourse, Fownes was unable to attend a game on January 12. and will also be unable to attend on January 16 and 19 with essential personnel permitted to enter the racecourse having to be fully vaccinated against the virus.

No vaccination restrictions were put in place outside of the racetrack, meaning Fownes continued to train his horses without issue, but he thinks he could end up needing a shot if the racetracks remain stuck beyond the current meetings.

“It hasn’t affected my work in any way,” he said on Saturday. “I’m still out there every day working and seeing the same people, but you can only attend the races if you’re fully vaccinated.

Hugh Routledge

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Meetings in Hong Kong again held behind closed doors

Meetings in Hong Kong again held behind closed doors

Hugh Routledge

“I’m medically exempt from taking the vaccine but it looks like I might have to take something to go running at some point as I think the restrictions will remain in place from the government but we’ll just have to see.

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“I see the same people every day that I would see at the races but then I can’t go, which doesn’t really make sense but that’s the way it is. I’ve trained almost 1,000 winners, so I don’t care what people think of me.

Fownes, who also clinched the Hong Kong Derby in 2010 and managed multiple Group 1 winners Lucky Nine, added: “It’s an unfortunate situation. I’m pro-vaccine, I support science but a few friends of mine and some people I’ve worked with had complications when they had it, and I have complications, so it’s not simple.

“It really depends on what the government does, but it looks like the restrictions will be extended, as they are in almost every other country, and that will have an impact on what happens with racing.”

Due to his vaccination status, Fownes, who was born in India to British parents, expects to be at home next Sunday when Sky Darci and Sky Field take part in the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup and the Centenary Cup respectively. group 1 in Sha Tin, although no restrictions are in place for the meeting at this time.

The trainer thinks it is a “big task” to face Hong Kong superstar Golden Sixty with Sky Darci in the Stewards’ Cup, but he is optimistic about the quality of his stable’s horses for the coming year.

“I have some great horses for the year ahead that I’m excited about, and Sky Darci and Sky Field who were brilliant last year,” he said. “My target this year is to try to win the Derby again and you have to aim high.”

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