Human error is being blamed for cones being left on the
track, causing chaos during the first race at Riccarton Park
The race was declared null and void.
It was believed to be the first time cones had been left on
the track in such a manner, industry representatives told the
Otago Daily Times yesterday.
A jockey was thrown from her mount as riders tried to
navigate their horses through the 14 cones left on the track
at the 1000m mark. Neither riders nor horses were injured but
the 2.40pm race was declared null and void as a result of the
disturbance caused by the cones.
It was a bad start to the day, which only got worse as riders
complained after the second race at 3.15pm that the track was
slippery. After a track inspection and viewing of camera
footage of the race, the Canterbury Racing meeting was
The track was officially rated a dead (4). There had been
heavy rain before the meeting began.
Canterbury Jockey Club chief executive Tim Mills said it was
extremely unfortunate the 10-race event did not deliver what
He and others were trying to arrange for the meeting to be
held next week.
''It was complete human error. One of the ground guys was
instructed to remove the cones from the 1400m and 1000m
marks. He picked up the 1400m cones but failed to bring the
others in. There are no excuses.''
Mills said horses ran through and around the cones but the
resulting disruption made it an unfair competition.
Fess would not be charged for the abandoned meeting, he said.
''We are hoping to reschedule it and give all the horses an
opportunity to run again.''
More than 3000 people attended the event - many as members of
Christmas and end-of-year work parties.
Racing Integrity Unit co-chief steward Nigel McIntyre said in
the 25 years he had been in the racing industry he had never
known of another incident in which cones were left on the
The unit would investigate the incident and report its
findings, he said.
''Hopefully, we can put something in place to ensure it
doesn't happen again.''
It was the second time bad weather had curtailed racing at
Riccarton Park recently. The last race of the final day of
the New Zealand Cup meeting last month was abandoned after an
electrical storm triggered the opening of the starting gates
before horses had been loaded.
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing said last night it hoped to
reschedule the eight races not run yesterday to next Tuesday.
Fields would remain the same but scratchings would be
reinstated. It would be a twilight meeting.