The first group one racing of any code in the Riverina will be off limits to the public.
Plans for Wagga Harness Racing's upcoming carnival have undergone major upheaval with Harness Racing NSW restricting access to meetings throughout the state due to coronavirus.
Wagga chief executive Graeme White admitted it was a blow to the club but still expects plenty of quality horses in action next month.
"With the group one meeting we were expecting a huge crowd but it is out of our control and we have to abide by the authority," he said.
"That is the public can't be here. It is a shame and a lot of organisation and advertising has gone into it but our hands are tied."
The club's grand opening meeting, with a crowd around 3500, in March last year is the biggest to date at Riverina Paceway.
White expected numbers to rival that for the final meeting of the carnival on April 12.
The carnival starts on April 3 with the first round of heats.
More heats will be run on April 7 before four $100,000 finals on Easter Sunday.
Coming off a second in the Miracle Mile Lochinvar Art will contest the four-year-old series and will be one of the major drawcards.
"The good horses are what attract the paying public but unfortunately we can't have them here," White said.
Wagga will race on Friday but only licensed participants are able to access facilities with even owners are unable to attend after they were deemed not be essential persons in the running of meeting.
It has been a move made in a bid to ensure racing can continue.
"There is a lot of people who rely on it as their income and that is why it is important the racing product is still on," White said. "If we can't have crowds, which we can't, you still want the product to be on with the governing body having arrangements with the TAB to consider as well as what is happening in Australia at the moment."
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