Meanwhile in … Sydney: trainer pays for lack of selfie control

Horse Racing Bjorn Baker trainer
Bjorn Baker: hit in the pocket for breaching Covid-19 protocols. Photo: Bjorn Baker Racing

Expat kiwi trainer Bjorn Baker pays for lack of selfie control

Australia: Stewards in New South Wales are maintaining their hardline approach against those who breach Covid-19 protocols, in the latest incident fining leading trainer Bjorn Baker for taking a selfie.

Baker, a New Zealander who trains at Warwick Farm, sent out 128 winners in the most recent season to finish fifth in the state premiership and saddled a double on the first day of the 2020-21 campaign at Randwick on Saturday.

But he overstepped the mark after Off Shaw’s success under Glyn Schofield. After filming the jockey’s feedback for his owners, Baker posed for a selfie in which the pair had their arms around each other’s shoulders, which was then posted on Twitter.

The post was deleted after 30 minutes when Baker was alerted to a potential breach of social distancing rules.

In the subsequent inquiry Baker and Schofield pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to stay 1.5m apart. Baker was fined A$4,000 (£2,176) and Schofield A$2,000 (£1,088). Both were ordered to undergo a Covid test and cannot return to the racecourse until the results are known.

In addition Baker must appear before another inquiry for allegedly not reporting the conduct of two of his staff, one who had attended a hotel identified by the NSW Department of Health as having a positive COVID-19 case and another who was a close contact of a person that attended the same venue.

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