Horse run may mean two-year ban
Cross-dressed punter faces two-year banBLAIR ENSOR AND PAUL EASTON
A man on his stag party who jumped a fence at the Otaki races and galloped with the horses to the finish line will be banned from three courses for at least two years, a racing official says.
Video footage shows the blonde-wigged, undie-less man in a black skirt running the last 50 metres of The Dominion Post Handicap on Saturday, before falling over the line.
The Wellington man was then grabbed by race course security staff and escorted from the course as disbelieving jockeys pulled their mounts up.
Otaki and Trentham racecourse general manager Darin Balcombe said the Otaki-Maori Racing Club committee would determine the man's punishment when they next met.
The man would likely be banned for at least two years from the Otaki, Trentham and Awapuni courses, Mr Balcombe said.
He could also be asked to write a letter of apology and make a donation to a charity, he said.
"We could prosecute him if we want, [but] whether we want to go down that road we don't know yet.
"We don't want to encourage it [running on the track] that's for sure."
On Sunday,race course inspector Bob Bevege said the man was dared to run alongside the fence, but instead, leapt on to the track.
"He was inebriated to say the least, but he was a lucky boy," Mr Bevege said.
"The horses were running wide because of a heavy track, and if one had shied it could have been nasty."
Stipendiary steward Neil Goodwin watched video replays and said the man was never in any danger, but the horse closest to him was six-year-old stallion Temple View, the biggest in the race.
Jockey Thomas Russell said he spotted the runner 100 metres out.
"I kept an eye on him in the run home but I didn't have to change ground," Mr Russell said.
"If he'd changed direction it might have been different. I yelled that he was a bloody idiot as I went past, but by then he was lying on his face on the ground."
The man's mates accepted joint responsibility for the prank - in keeping with the name of the horse that beat him to the line, Share The Blame.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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