Bathurst club stripped of licence over watering fiasco

THE Bathurst race club has been stripped of its licence pending an investigation into over watering of the track that caused yesterday race meeting to be abandoned.

Surface water on the track  made the prospect of racing unsafe.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said investigations were continuing into why the sprinklers were left on, causing the track to deteriorate to the point it was unraceable.

The problem was discovered when stewards arrived at the course for their routine race morning inspection.

“We have suspended the Bathurst licence until they can satisfy Racing NSW that they can conduct all aspects of a race meeting,” V'landys said.

“This is not the first incident that has brought racing into disrepute. They also had the farcical situation when the sprinklers were turned on when horses were in the straight.

“But to lose a race meeting because there’s water on the track on a 35 degree day ... we take this very seriously.

“Most of the participants were already there.

“They were totally inconvenienced and deprived of an income through Bathurst’s mismanagement of the situation.

“They have got to pay a penalty. They’re suspended pending them showing they can run a race meeting.”

Central Districts Racing Association chief steward Todd Smith will present a report after interviewing relevant club officials and Racing NSW Racecourse maintenance manager Dave Hodgson has been called in to oversee the track problems.

Smith and his panel inspected the track alongside a delegation of senior riders and the decision was made that sections of the track were unsafe.

Horses which were acceptors at Bathurst can be added to the Wyong nominations for next Thursday while races at Parkes two days later will be divided if required.

Almost 80 per cent of horses at the meeting were from metropolitan and provincial stables.

In November, the sprinklers came on during a race meeting as the horses were turning for home, drenching horses and jockeys.

The electronic sprinkler system can be operated remotely and in the case of Bathurst, it was activated in Brisbane.

An override switch should have been used to avoid the problem.

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