NEWS: How about this for crazy?
Race fans looked on in horror on Saturday when, during the Group 1 Wellington Cup card, a man decided to play chicken with huge field of oncoming racecourses at Trentham, New Zealand. By sheer miracle no jockeys had to attempt evasive action and what would have been a potentially life ending collision (for horse, jockey and lunatic) was averted by luck and not judgement. Horse fans were left gasping at the amazing scenes.
Clearly the man, who appears to celebrate his feat by raising his arms in search of praise, was uninjured and local reports say the man was arrested by police at the scene and is expected to be charged with endangering public safety. Champion jockey Danielle Johnson was quoted after the race as saying: “He was lucky he didn’t get run over, most of us didn’t see him until late.”
Sadly the stunt took the gloss away from superstar mare Melody Belle who matched Kiwi legend Sunline by claiming a record equalling 13 Group 1 victories with a strong win in the Thorndon Mile on the same Trentham card.
Picturing the amazing scenes first-hand
Of course right now it is unlikely this ugly incident could happen anywhere else in the world as tracks around the globe are racing before empty grandstands. But New Zealanders are reaping the rewards of a harsh lockdown which was imposed on them at the very start of the Covid-19 pandemic. For them it is business as usual albeit this ugly incident is anything other than ordinary.
Remarkably this is the second time in less than four months New Zealand jockeys have unexpectedly found an unwanted intruder in their path. In mid-October an innocent golfer stumbled onto a racetrack with horses bearing down on him at Auckland’s Ellerslie Racecourse. It features a golf driving range and pitch-and-putt course in the track’s infield and the lucky survivor was simply searching for his ball totally unaware a steeplechase race was thundering towards him.