Are South African racetracks being properly inspected prior to racemeetings and gallops?
There is no question that the National Horseracing Authority and the operators, through their racecourse managers, are going to have to up their game when it comes to preparation and inspection of our tracks.
Questions of proper testing and racedayy preparation arise when technical issues arise, often at the first race of the day. This has been seen recently at Flamingo Park and Durbanville, where cameras and comunications have come under the spotlight. If they are not checking the equipment in advance, then are the tracks being walked and inspected?
The ugly spectre of potentially malicious sabotage came to a head this past week in Australia, where metal stakes were found at the 400m marker at Kilmore.
www.punters.com.au reports that Australian racing authorities have described the deliberate sabotage of a race meeting at Kilmore on Thursday as ‘sickening’ and ‘diabolical’ after police were contacted to investigate the incident.
A dramatic statement from Country Racing Victoria, the body which oversees all country racing in Victoria, has claimed lives would have been lost had stewards not come across two metal stakes which were driven into the ground at the 400m mark.
“We all know the risks involved in thoroughbred racing and the bravery required of our jockeys every time they saddle up to ride,” the statement read.
“It is incomprehensible that anyone would seek to endanger them or their mounts. We commend the stewards for their diligence in uncovering this sabotage and, undoubtedly, saving human and equine lives as a result. Today is a sad day for the racing game.”
The meeting was abandoned without a race being run due to safety concerns.
RV Executive General Manager – Infrastructure and Clubs, Jamie McGuinness, said the incident was of the most serious nature.
“It appears that this was an act of vandalism or sabotage which the Kilmore Racing Club has referred to Victoria Police to investigate. If that is the case then it was an irresponsible and dangerous act that has put the lives of both riders and horses at serious risk.
“Racing Victoria will discuss with the Kilmore Racing Club what opportunities there are to enhance security at the racetrack which is crown land that is accessible by the public and work with the Kilmore Racing Club to ensure that their next meeting on 26 April is in a position to proceed.”