by Ian Blyth
POLICE are currently investigating an alleged case of sabotage at the Kilmore racecourse after two metal star pickets were found driven into the turf on Thursday (April 12).
Stewards discovered the stakes during a routine inspection prior to the first race. The meeting was subsequently abandoned.
It is believed that the stakes were driven into the track on the Wednesday night prior to the meeting. The metal star pickets were found two metres off the running rail near the 400-metre mark, one of the highest traffic spots on the track.
The incident has created waves throughout the Kilmore racing community with all condemning the incident as a contemptable act of sabotage.
Kilmore Racing CEO, Ben Murphy, told the North Central Review that he was thankful that a catastrophe had been averted and horses and riders were safe.
“We are fortunate that Racing Victoria and the (Kilmore) Racing Club have processes in place to ensure the track is safe prior to any meeting,” Mr Murphy said.
“It is incomprehensible to think that an individual has done this to the track in what we can only assume is a deliberate act,” Mr Murphy said.
Kilmore trainer, Annie Goble, who had a horse in the first race, added her concerns.
“I find it disgusting that a person would sabotage a race meeting and put the lives of horses and riders at risk. It is unbelievable,” Ms Goble said.
She added that she hoped that Kilmore Racing and Racing Victoria would offer a substantial reward that would lead to police solving the case.
The racing public who attended the meeting were also upset the events that unfolded. Graham Laing and his wife, Pauline, who regularly attend Kilmore’s midweek meetings shared their concerns on the incident.
“We were here with our grandchildren and were both surprised and concerned when we heard what had happened. Kilmore is a lovely track and you don’t expect that sort of thing to happen here, or anywhere for that matter,” Mr Laing said.
Country Racing Victoria, Chief Executive Scott Whiteman, said that his organisation, like all racing participants, customers and supporters, is ‘sickened by the events’ surrounding the abandonment of Thursday’s races at Kilmore.
“We all know the risks involved in thoroughbred racing and the bravery required of our jockeys every time they saddle up to ride. It is incomprehensible that anyone would seek to endanger them or their mounts,” Mr Whiteman said.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information can be left anonymously.