RAC­ING CLUB TURFS CRITIC Banned owner con­sid­ers le­gal ac­tion

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - TOM SNOW­DON

THE trou­ble-plagued Bris­bane Rac­ing Club has banned an owner from watch­ing his own horse race after he crit­i­cised the dis­as­trous Ea­gle Farm Race­course.

Rac­ing iden­tity Nick Mered­ith said po­lice were called to es­cort him from Doomben Race­course on Derby Day – one of the busiest race meets of the year – last Satur­day for his “on­track be­hav­iour”.

The for­mer soc­cer star, who was giv­ing mount­ing­yard ad­vice to other own­ers, said there was no le­git­i­mate rea­son for the evic­tion or the in­def­i­nite ban that was im­posed.

He said he was later told it was pay­back for crit­i­cal com­ments made on so­cial me­dia by his group, The Pun­ters Col­lec­tive, in Au­gust about Ea­gle Farm Race­course.

“I’ve been on course at Doomben at least three times since then, but they chose that week­end to do it,” Mr Mered­ith said.

The Pun­ters Col­lec­tive had pre­vi­ously been is­sued a cease-and-de­sist or­der on film­ing mount­ing yards at all race meets on orders from Sky Rac­ing, which owns the broad­cast rights.

The group agreed to stop film­ing.

Mr Mered­ith’s horse, Cap­tain Dodge, raced yes­ter­day but he was un­able to at­tend the track be­cause of the ban.

When asked about its rul­ing, BRC said it would “al­ways pro­tect the rights of stake­hold­ers who pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to the Queens­land rac­ing in­dus- try”. BRC faced an­gry cri­ticism this year over a de­ci­sion to hold the winter car­ni­val meet­ings at Ea­gle Farm, de­spite pleas from train­ers that the track was no good.

That de­ci­sion back­fired spec­tac­u­larly when the club was forced to move The Oaks and Strad­broke meet­ings to Doomben be­cause of Ea­gle Farm’s poor con­di­tion.

Mr Mered­ith said: “The track was an un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter that has cost the in­dus­try a for­tune.”

A re­port for Rac­ing Queens­land found the track’s trou­bles were due to fac­tors that in­cluded the cho­sen sand and grass, main­te­nance pro­grams, and a full rac­ing pro­gram.

Mr Mered­ith said he was now con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion.

AC­TION: Nick Mered­ith has been banned from Doomben race­track. Pic­ture: AAP/ David Clark

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