Racehorse trainers are sweating on a green light for access to Warrnambool's Lady Bay after the beach was closed for almost two months because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Racing officials expect a return to the beach as early as Monday but Warrnambool City Council said discussions were ongoing.
The city's chief executive officer Peter Schneider said the easing of state restrictions on beach activities and outdoor gatherings would be factored into council deliberations. "Council is currently considering a proposal put forward by the racing club in relation to the resumption of horse training at Lady Bay," Mr Schneider said.
Trainers, who have used the beach for decades, lost access on March 30 when the council closed it as part of coronavirus restrictions.
Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive officer Tom O'Connor said the council had indicated the beach would open for training of horses either Monday or Tuesday. "The local trainers will welcome the news," he said. "The local trainers have been very respectful of the closure and what protocols have to be put in place for training to resume.
"We've had on-going talks with the council about when the beach would be reopened. The council asked us to provide strict protocols before training could recommence at Lady Bay and we've done that.
"Victoria's racing industry has operated through the virus with daily race meetings because it has very strict protocols in place for race meetings and training centres and the same will happen at the beach.
"Training the horses on the beach is a key component of how local trainers train their horses. It's a massive asset for them and gives a vital edge against other trainers from Melbourne and other areas of the state."