A huge Wellington Cup crowd was left stunned as a member of the public ran on to the track and straight into a field of charging horses at Trentham today.
Remarkably nobody was injured in the incident that saw jockeys dodging the foolish track intruder at full speed 150m from the end of race eight.
The intruder was arrested by police and taken from the track, with the disruption to the race seeing one of the horses declared a non starter.
Jockeys were left trying to avoid the male offender as he stood in the middle of the track as the field fanned directly in front of the main grandstand.
“He was lucky he didn’t get run over,” said champion jockey Danielle Johnson. “Most of us didn’t see him until late.”
With thoroughbreds weighing around 500kgs and travelling as faster than 60kms/h in the closing stages of the race, had any of them made direct contact with the intruder the results could have been horrendous – and all on live television being beamed around Australasia.
The incident comes three months after a golfer playing at the pitch and putt course inside Ellerslie racetrack accidentally wandered into the body of the field in the famous Great Northern Steeplechase, again with nobody injured.