Racing: Changes after cones cause chaos

The Racing Integrity Unit has made sweeping changes to its procedures after cones were left on the track at the Riccarton thoroughbred meeting last Friday.

A series of marker cones left on the track around the 1000m mark caused chaos in the first race. The field had to take evasive action, and jockey Ashley McKay was dislodged from Red Bullet, before the race was declared null and void.

An RIU investigation found the head steward for the meeting walked the track between noon and 12.30pm and noted the cones were on the track at both the 1400m and 1000m point. However, it was assumed they would be removed by the club, as removal of all cones had been the practice in the past.

A Canterbury Jockey Club staff member collected the cones at the 1400m mark but failed to collect the cones at the 1000m mark. The staff member then logged all cones as having been collected.

The report said the incident acted as ''a salutary reminder to all that human failure, in spite of a process being in place and checking systems, has the potential to effect real harm to not only riders and horses, but also the image of racing''.

RIU staff will now be required to check the entire racing surface upon arrival at all meetings, and will also confirm with the club that all items have been removed, before a final visual inspection 20 minutes before the first race.