The raucous Canberra carnival seemed worlds, not weeks, away when Matthew Dale entered an eerily empty Thoroughbred Park.
All jockeys had their temperature checked upon their arrival, while trainers adhered to strict social distancing regulations in the mounting yard.
No crowds meant no resounding cheer at the finish line, an oddity given thousands of punters filled Thoroughbred Park with cries of victory just two weeks ago.
Frankly, Dale hadn't seen anything like it.
"It does dampen the atmosphere and when you're watching it, it feels more akin to the barrier trial than a race meeting," Dale said.
"But we're still racing and that's the main thing.
"I've never seen anything as strict as this in our time. Obviously there's no crowds, everyone makes sure they keep their distance, everything is marked out and all jockeys are segregated.
"The industry is doing a great job in keeping it going and safe for all participants."
Canberra Racing held its first meeting since the Canberra Carnival on Friday, and their first since the coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of Australian sport into shutdown.
Racing is the only professional sport still running in Australia at the moment, but behind closed doors and with strict biosecurity protocols in place.
The organisation has a contract with stewards from Racing NSW, who have been orchestrating close meetings throughout the state.
Canberra Racing boss Andrew Clark says the meeting ran smoothly and commends those involved for cooperating with the regulations.
"It was a very unusual race day but it's a race day run without risk. We will be undertaking this for the foreseeable future," Clark said.
"I was always confident in our ability to handle the situation going forward. The meeting reinforced that, but I always confident we could handle and reduce any risk associated.
"I think the racing industry has displayed time and time again, our ability to run these race meetings reduces risk."
Canberra trainer Keith Dryden finished the meet with three seconds and two firsts, including a double with Express Courier and Your Knuckleship in the Class 1 Plate (1600 metres).
Greg Stephens trained-Peyton Place beat Bellgano by 3.23 lengths to claim the $40,000 Federal Handicap (1300 metres), with Dale's Coup de Main rounding out the podium.
The Dale-trained Terra Reign finished fourth in the same race, while Propose To Me ran third in race seven.