Melbourne Cup Day will likely come too soon, with Canberra Racing hoping crowds might return to Thoroughbred Park in December or January.
They're definitely hoping things will have opened up in time for the Canberra Carnival in March.
Racing NSW are talking about having a crowd of up to 5000 for The Everest, at Randwick on October 16, while Racing Victoria's pushing for crowds at the Race That Stops a Nation.
But with Canberra meets currently forced to be held at Queanbeyan due to COVID-19 border restrictions, Canberra Racing chief executive Andrew Clark felt a return of crowds was unlikely for Melbourne Cup Day - the first Tuesday in November would traditionally be the next big crowd on their horizon.
Earlier this year crowds were capped at 3000 per day of the two-day Canberra Carnival, but Clark hoped they might be able to surpass that.
Restrictions are set to ease over the next month as vaccination levels pass the 70 and 80 per cent marks.
"I would say the chance of a crowd attending Thoroughbred Park on Melbourne Cup Day would be extremely slim," Clark said.
"We'll continue to abide by all the restrictions the ACT government put in place, but all indications suggest it would be more in the December timeframe, and even into the New Year, where crowds would start filtering back to events in Canberra.
"Last year's Carnival days were restricted to 3000 people per day across Black Opal and Canberra Cup days.
"We'd obviously like to have more than that, but it's too early to say what will be permitted come March."
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
Canberra Racing were scheduled to hold a meeting at Thoroughbred Park on Saturday for AFL Grand Final day, but that will be held at Queanbeyan on Tuesday instead.
Hopefully, they'll be granted exemptions to allow key racing personnel to enter the ACT to allow their October 8 meeting to go ahead at their own track.
If the exemptions aren't granted then they'll likely have to abandon the meeting.
Getting the ACT government's clearance for that was Clark's priority, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr set to review the current restrictions next week.
"My absolute first priority is to be able to run a race meeting at Thoroughbred Park," he said.
"We can do that safely with essential personnel only and once we're permitted to do that future steps then would be allowing crowds back as well when that's deemed acceptable by health authorities."
Meanwhile, Canberra racing identity and former jockey John Scorse's brother Alan died from cancer on Thursday, aged 69.
Newcastle's Alan Scorse was also a former jockey, as well as a trainer.
He saluted in the group 1 Stradbroke Handicap and William Reid Stakes before a back injury ended his riding career.
Scorse was inducted into the Newcastle and Hunter Racing's hall of fame earlier this year.