Racing Victoria Chief Executive Rob Hines has defended the future of jumps racing with the belief that yesterday’s incidents will have little or no effect on the sport.
The biggest jumps race of the May Day Carnival in Warrnambool yesterday was the scene of horror after a horse jumped a three metre high fence onto a large group of spectators.
Seven people were taken to hospital, where an 80-year-old woman and a two-year-old boy still remain today in stable conditions.
Mr Hines believes there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the disaster.
“It’s never happened in 100 years,” Mr Hines said.
“It’s a freak accident, there was nothing you could do once that horse decided to take to that boundary fence.”
Mr Hines said that despite the serious injuries to onlookers, the actual race itself was injury free.
“You’d have to say you could do with less excitement but it was a hell of a spectacle,” Mr Hines said.
“Everybody got around safely, but we’re concerned about the spectators … but I don’t know what we could have done.”
The fence that the wayward horse, Banna Strand, jumped over was erected only a few years ago to protect the crowd from this very thing.
“We thought we dealt with it by putting up higher fences … but this race throws up something different every year,” Mr Hines said.
Mr Hines has continued to declare his unwavering support for jumps racing and believes this incident will not mar the sport in any way.
“I don’t think it will impact on it whatsoever,” Mr Hines said.
“We’ve said the sport is a dangerous sport and is not risk-free, and if you look at what happened … there wasn’t too much wrong with the race itself.”