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Horses Scratched For Wide Sulkies

Published: December 13, 2014 11:16 am ET

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What was scheduled to be one of the biggest nights on the calendar of a racetrack in Australia was marred with controversy after a number of top contenders were late scratches due to racebikes exceeding the acceptable width.

With ten starters set for the 2014 $175,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup at Bray Raceway Ballarat, the field was reduced to four after six horses were scratched by the judges as the other connections were apparently unable to find replacement racebikes at the last minute.

"We were informed by Harness Racing Australia during the week of concerns some UFO sulkies were wider than what is allowed," said Harness Racing Victoria Chairman of Stewards Neal Conder in a statement. "I informed our steward who oversees gear that when next at the races he is to measure the sulkies. He measured them at Thursday's meeting and there was no issue.

"He measured them before the first race tonight and found that some weren’t compliant with the HRA specifications. Trainers were informed they would have to change sulkies as their sulkies were outside of HRA specifications.

Conder noted that the trainers were only informed on day of the race because they didn't expect to find any irregularities.

"UFO is not a new sulky manufacturer. I’m surprised that an experienced sulky maker would supply sulkies outside of HRA specifications.

"I’m very disappointed in how tonight has unfolded. It is obviously extremely disappointing for patrons and punters, trainers, drivers, the club, owners, sponsors and everyone in the industry.

HRV Chairman Ken Latta will ask the racing integrity council to review tonight's events to ensure there is not a repeat of the situation.

The race was won by Im Corzin Terror.

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