Popular South African jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe, in hard lockdown in Mauritius, says he feels like a “caged tiger” with no racing allowed on the island at present.
He told IRC on Thursday: “The island is on official lockdown until 25 March, we’re only allowed to shop for food once a week and they have hefty fines if you’re caught outside, up to R500,000 rupees. They could well extend the lockdown indefinitely; nobody really knows what will happen after 25 March.”
Bernard was granted a permit to ride track work in the morning, earlier this week, and said: “That offers some relief, but the permit gives permission for a trip to the work track and back, and that’s it. We haven’t raced here for two-and-a-half months so I feel like a caged tiger!”
Bernard said that Covid-19 was well contained when their so-called ‘first wave’ produced just a handful of deaths in a period of quarantine, but that it spread like wildfire this year when what is assumed to have been an undetected carrier entered the island on a flight.
Racing authorities are hoping for relief in the form of closed-door racing to start in April, but no announcements have been made yet and Bernard said: “We’re crossing fingers so things can resume, if they do I’ll be riding here until the end of December when the season ends.”
He rode 16 winners and 33 places from just 76 rides (22% strike rate) in a short spell last season and said: “I am staying fit and my weight is good, I have access to a pool and a gym so things are not all bad!”