Day At The Track

Vandals strike the Geraldine track

10:09 AM 06 Dec 2015 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
As Franco Texas and Jessica Young pass the post to win race six at Orari last Saturday, the distinctive sprayed area can be seen in contrast to the lush nature of the outside of the track.
As Franco Texas and Jessica Young pass the post to win race six at Orari last Saturday, the distinctive sprayed area can be seen in contrast to the lush nature of the outside of the track.

Geraldine Trotting Club president Lochie Marshall fears more acts of senseless vandalism could hurt the Orari based club and industry participants.

A section of the Orari track, approximately 80 square metres, was sprayed with a grass killing chemical in the lead up to last Saturday's meeting.

Police could not be reached on Saturday but it's understood they are investigating the incident and are yet to charge anyone.

The club fears further attacks could come before its next meeting and is urging anyone with any information to contact it or the police.

Marshall believes the section of the track was likely sprayed around a week before the meeting by one or two people.

Test results, that could be back this week, should confirm what chemical was used.

Because of the size of the area and its location on the course, the club believe there was definitely malicious intent.

"It's a serious act of wilful damage," Marshall said.

"It's obviously someone who has got a vendetta against the club to go to that much effort. Whoever did it knows exactly what they were doing because they targeted the winning post and right in front of where the camera's film from."

Usually a one meeting a year club, Geraldine has secured a second meeting on January 31 and the club holds concerns similar attacks could come in the days before the meeting so will be looking to beef up security.

Surveillance cameras were in operation but did not bring any conclusive evidence as they are not focussed on the track.

"We never thought we would have to worry about someone trying to sabotage the track," Marshall said.

Stipendiary steward Shane Renault walked the track on the Wednesday before the meeting and said the area concerned looked like a dry patch but by Saturday it was much worse and in his opinion it was clear the area had been sprayed with some type of chemical.

The condition of the track has further deteriorated since the meeting.

"If they had of sprayed it a week earlier we wouldn't have been racing on it," Marshall said.

He confirmed the track has been direct drilled and the club's annual Christmas trials may have to be ran at a different venue.

Thankfully because the patch of baron earth was such a large area horses did not shy away from it and because the ground surface was not damaged, the meeting was not interrupted.

Marshall said the attack on the club was absolutely gutting after receiving nothing but praise after the meeting.

The club had worked tirelessly on sponsorship to secure a minimum $10,000 stake and every runner was paid $200 for starting - a considerable outlay given the fields were almost all at capacity.

Trainers and owners have been glowing with their praise of the club.

Many volunteers had given significant amounts of time to get the picturesque grounds of the complex looking picture perfect.

Track vandalism is nothing new in racing although it is rare.

Back in February 2012 around 120 lead head nails where spread across the Ascot Park track in Invercargill.

An anonymous telephone tipoff 90 minutes before racing was due to start led to be the discovery but the offenders were never identified.

In November 2011 the Foxton Racing Club was the focus of four arson attacks in 10 days.

Mat Kermeen

Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: