GROUP 3 dreams for Bernie Hewitt were dashed at the eleventh hour on Saturday when Sydney lockdown laws prevented him from sending star mare Make Mine Heaven to Menangle on Saturday night.
The introduction of lockdown laws for the Greater Sydney region at 6pm on Saturday meant race organisers had to scratch three of the horses from the Group 3 Ladyship Stakes (1609m), leaving just four to race.
The Country Series Final on the program had to be cancelled entirely, since the entire field was composed of horses from outside the metro area.
That situation has turned into a win for Bathurst, with the track set to play host to the Country Series Final in this Wednesday night's meeting.
Harness Racing NSW has provided an avenue for regional trainers to compete at Menangle, although it would require some sacrifices to be made over the fortnight-long window.
Trainers can opt to spend their entirety of the lockdown period based at the city track, although they would be limited to racing at Menangle and would have to organise their own accommodation.
The Bathurst venue will still be bound by several COVID-safe rules, with masks being compulsory on all racecourses throughout New South Wales and the one person per four square meter rule also applying to all meetings in the state.
"We've gone back into racing in the regions again. For the country trainers the option of going to Menangle isn't there so it'll just be two weeks of racing locally until we get through this period," Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said.
"Everyone will need to wear masks in the stabling area and the clubhouse, and we'll be back to the four people per square metre rule, which is okay at this time of year because we don't usually have big crowds inside.