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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Saturday, February 18 2017

Auckland Racing Club officials have called in the police to deal with an incident that took place at Ellerslie this afternoon when a section of running rail was flattened shortly before the last race was due to be run.

When the downed running rail – estimated to be a section about 50 metres long midway along the back straight – was first noticed, it appeared to be a similar occurrence to the home straight section of flexible plastic rail that was blown over during a race meeting at Te Rapa late last year.

Perhaps fortunately, the final race on Avondale Cup day had been delayed several minutes by the scratching of two horses at the 2100-metre start point. Having noticed the section of rail, two Ellerslie ground staff acted quickly and reinstated it, clearing the scene for the race to start.

At the same time, it transpired that several people had been on the track in the vicinity of the downed rail and at least one of them was still present near the junction of the 1600-metre chute. It is believed that the group may have been in the Ellerslie infield, most likely playing on the various golf facilities there.

ARC security personnel had held the alleged course proper trespasser, while they were also in possession of a wallet and cell phone that were found in the vicinity.

“The matter is now in the hands of the police,” ARC chief executive Cameron George said. “We’re not exactly sure of how it all unfolded but it appears there was a group of people who left the infield and somehow or other the running rail was pulled down.

“The police have one person who was involved and they’ve also got the wallet and cell phone, so we’ll leave that part of the investigation to them.

“From the club’s point of view, I can say with near certainty that the people we are able to identify as being involved in today’s incident will be trespassed from the course.”

George admitted that there were challenges in securing the Ellerslie course proper and following today’s incident a review of current procedures will take place.

“We secure it as best we can but it’s hard to eliminate all possibilities,” he said. “I wouldn’t like to jump to conclusions as to whether we perhaps cease activities in the infield on racedays, but we will be looking at all aspects of our security protocols.”

Posted by: AT 07:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email