A spectator ran onto the race track at Upper Hutt’s Trentham Racecourse during Wellington Cup Day. Photo / Twitter
The man who ran on to the track during a Wellington Cup Day race was not part of the anti horse-racing movement that protested at the event, says organisers.
A huge Wellington Cup crowd was shocked when a spectator ran on to the track into a field of charging horses at Trentham races on Saturday.
He was then arrested and charged with criminal nuisance.
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses held a protest on Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt during the event, but protest organiser Francis Baker made it clear they had no involvement with the track intrusion.
“He has no connection to the protest, it’s not something we would do,” she said.
“A lot of what we do are silent protest … I don’t think we would get our message across if we were to do something like that.”
She said the stunt had put horses’ lives at risk and actually detracted from their cause.
“Unfortunately the man that walked on to the track got more media attention than the poor horse that lost its life.
“Everyone is saying that it was a horrific scene, the man that walked onto the track and it disrupted the races and put horses’ lives at risk, but people neglect that every time a horse races its life is put in harm’s way and at risk anyway.”
“Horses are dying on the track anyway regardless of whether a man walks on to the track.”
A horse had died during Saturday’s event and Baker said their protest aimed to convey the cruelty of the popular sport.
“We wanted to raise awareness about the cruelty horses endure when we go to the races.
“The industry will sell you the façade of glamour, everyone goes to have a good time and get drunk and compete in fashion shows but behind it exists a shocking reality for the horses.”