COVID-19 halts JJ Atkins Stakes plans for Khoekhoe

In a normal year, Matt Cumani would not hesitate to take two-year-old Khoekhoe to Brisbane for the winter carnival.

But with COVID-19 making the movement of racing personnel between states impossible unless they undergo a two-week quarantine period, 2020 is anything but normal.

That scenario has all but ruled out Khoekhoe heading to Brisbane for the Group One JJ Atkins (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.

A last-start winner of The Showdown at Caulfield last month, Khoekhoe attempts a third straight win when he runs in the Tom Melbourne Trophy (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.

While it is possible for Khoekhoe to go to Queensland without restriction, anyone travelling with the colt from Cumani’s stable will need to undergo quarantine.

“That doesn’t really work for me,” Cumani said.

“He’s my special horse at the moment and I don’t really want to let him out of my or my team’s sight.

“He’s got one rider and while I know that is probably not essential, you would kick yourself if someone else rode him and fell off.

“I know they are surmountable things for a Group One, but I want to see how he runs on Saturday and if we have to find someone up there to look after him, then we can consider it.”

Cumani figures the rise to 1400m on Saturday is ideal, however getting a guide on Khoekhoe through his trackwork does not fill the trainer with confidence.

“He’s terrific-looking, is a fluent mover and the most wonderful athlete, but he’s not a particularly flashy worker,” Cumani said.

“So you can’t take every gallop with him personally.

“He hasn’t run enough for me to have that true confidence to do it against better horses, so if it’s the case he is a good horse and saves it for race day then that’s great as it gives him a bit of longevity as well.”

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au